Freedom Virginia, a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to building a Commonwealth where all Virginia families have the economic freedom to thrive, today released the following statement from the organization’s executive director Rhena Hicks commending the General Assembly for accepting amendments to energy legislation that will lower costs for ratepayers, while also urging continued action:
“We first wish to acknowledge the work of Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan, Senator Creigh Deeds, Delegate Lee Ware and Delegate Rip Sullivan in forcing the conversation on energy affordability this session by introducing the Affordable Energy Act. This bipartisan law will help prevent Virginia’s utility monopolies from being able to overcharge hardworking families on their electric bills. We are grateful for the leadership of these four legislators in making energy affordability a real priority of both parties in 2023.
“We are glad to see bipartisan support for the governor’s changes to the Commission on Electric Utility Regulation (CEUR). Those amendments will ensure that the citizen members of CEUR have experience in advocating for ratepayers, and will also require the entity to produce a ratepayer impact statement for legislation referred to the Commission. Energy policy is inherently opaque, but there are things we can do to make it easier to understand. Hardworking families deserve to know if a piece of legislation introduced in Richmond will make their electric bill go up or down. That’s a pretty simple thing to ask, and we’re glad both Republicans and Democrats agreed to give more power to consumers, who have been ignored in the General Assembly for too long.
“As Gov. Youngkin and budget negotiators continue work on a state budget, we encourage them to invest $1 million in the revitalized Commission on Electric Utility Regulation so that it has the full-time staff and resources it needs to adequately advise lawmakers. Without actually funding this Commission, we would be doing a disservice to ratepayers.
“The recommendations related to HB 2444 / SB1441 would have ensured that as Virginia’s nation-leading offshore wind industry continues to grow, its offshore wind projects are conducted faster, and with more competitive procurement and flexibility. The fastest way to lower prices in any industry is to introduce competition. Although the recommendations failed, we look forward to working with the patrons to support these principles in the future. This is simply the right thing to do for Virginia’s clean energy future, and for ratepayers.”