By Frank Knapp, Jr.
Special to the Chronicle
Dominion Energy's Alan Rooks dropped a bombshell at a Public Service Commission hearing.
Rooks testified as the lone Dominion employee …
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Rooks testified as the lone Dominion employee witness at the hearing into the utilities request to raise rates on solar customers.
Rooks is responsible for designing and administering Dominion’s electric rates and tariffs.
Rooks addressed Dominion’s claim that non-solar customers were subsidizing the solar net-metering customers.
Based on the company’s own analysis, Rooks revealed the details of Dominion’s “cost shift” assertions:
• Home non-solar customers pay $1.38 more a month to subsidize solar customers.
• Small business non-solar customers pay 28 cents more a month.
Under cross examination Rooks acknowledged that this subsidization was actually not occurring today but instead were projections for possible cost shift years down the road.
Therefore, even if Dominion’s proposed higher rates for solar customers went into effect now, non-solar customers would receive no financial benefit.
Dominion officials will keep millions of dollars in higher rates if the PSC will let them.
Lawmakers were not told any of this during deliberation of a bill years ago to eliminate the solar cost shift.
Had Dominion done so, the urgency of this “cost shift” problem might have evaporated.
However, the PSC may decide to adjust the solar net metering program to address any potential cost shift down the road.
Nevada enacted similar draconian policies proposed by Dominion and their solar markets collapsed.
Solar demand will drop dramatically due to a 60% drop in solar savings.
Fewer customers will buy solar because reputable companies won’t be able to give savings projections with any certainty because Dominion won’t provide hourly electricity-use data needed.
Reputable solar companies will abandon South Carolina.
Remaining solar demand will be served by disreputable out-of-state scam-solar companies.
With little new solar to reduce peak electricity demand, Dominion will want the PSC to raise your rates to build new generation.
Mr. Knapp is SC Small Business Chamber CEO and an intervenor in the regulatory hearing.
Editor's note: The Chronicle has not yet heard from Dominion officials who were emailed Mr. Knapp's revelations.
To comment on this article, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com
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