RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The utility Dominion Virginia Power is proceeding unlawfully with plans for the more than $19-billion North Anna 3 reactor and must get formal approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC) before it can continue, according to a petition filed today with the Commission by the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC).
The VCCC petition for a declaratory judgment states: "At an estimated total cost of at least $19.2 billion, North Anna 3 would be the most expensive power plant ever built in the United States and could raise customers' rates by 26 percent or more according to the Virginia Attorney General. While Dominion claims that North Anna 3 is needed for compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan, it would be far costlier than the low-carbon alternative of combined renewables, demand-side management, and efficiency … Dominion has not complied with Virginia law by failing to seek SCC approval before making expenditures on project development and beginning preliminary construction of North Anna 3."
VCCC President Irene Leech said: "This is a huge raid on the pocketbooks of Virginia consumers and businesses. Dominion has spent approximately $600 million on project development and preliminary construction of North Anna 3, but has not yet sought or obtained Virginia State Corporation Commission approval for those expenditures. This is not a lawful or prudent way for Dominion to proceed when ratepayers are going to end up footing the bill. We've already seen ratepayers in this state stuck with a tab for over $300 million for the North Anna 3 project and there is no guarantee a reactor will ever be built or a single electron of power will be generated."
In his declaration in support of the VCCC petition, former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioner Peter Bradford, who also served as chairman of both state utility regulatory agencies in New York and Maine and now is an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School, wrote: "The economic impact of North Anna 3 on Virginia will be immense. Dominion's construction cost estimate of $19.2 billion dollars (including financing costs) for the proposed 1470 MW power plant would be a commitment of about $2,400 for every citizen of Virginia, or $9,600 per family of four, and – of course – the impact is even greater because it is confined to Dominion customers."
Employers also will suffer from higher electricity bills from North Anna 3, according to Bradford. "Not all of this will be reflected in residential customer bills, of course. Much of it will be passed through to Virginia citizens in the costs of goods and services provided by entities paying utility bills that reflect the costs of North Anna. To the extent that the cost of North Anna 3 is higher than the cost of alternative ways of meeting Virginia's need for electric services, it will undermine the state's competitive position, leading to a net loss of jobs and tax base as Virginia companies must compete with companies in other states under the burden of unnecessarily high electricity costs."
Bradford's official declaration also noted that the massive investment in the costly North Anna 3 project will stunt the advance or cheaper renewable energy in Virginia. He stated: "Expenditures on North Anna 3 will represent a commitment of funds that might otherwise go to different types of generation, including renewable sources, and to load management and energy efficiency. Such expenditures would begin producing low carbon electricity or electricity savings with the next year at costs well below those of North Anna 3, whereas North Anna 3 expenditures will produce no electricity and displace no greenhouse gas emissions until the plant comes on line many years from now."
On July 12, 2016, Dr. Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School, submitted his formal comments on behalf of VCCC in the matter of Dominion Virginia Power's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) now pending before the Virginia SCC. The comments by Dr. Cooper are available online at http://bit.ly/VAnuclearcosts.
Cooper termed the North Anna 3 project "abysmally wasteful and unnecessary," concluding that it would cost twice as much as solar to generate the same amount of energy, fatten profits for shareholders by inflating Virginia ratepayer bills by up to 36 percent (reflecting $6-12 billion in unnecessary costs).
In his analysis, Dr. Cooper concluded: "North Anna 3 is unreasonable, unnecessary, inefficient and wasteful and should be removed from Dominion's Integrated Resource Plan. Dominion is incorrect in asserting that North Anna 3 is needed to satisfy the requirements of the (EPA) Clean Power Plan. To the contrary, a combination of renewables, demand side management, and efficiency can not only provide equivalent capacity, but also the same level of excess capacity …"
The Virginia Citizens Consumer Council is a nonprofit, statewide grassroots membership organization. Its members are individual consumers, community and public interest organizations and others committed to the interest of Virginia consumers. By bringing together people and organizations from various parts of the Commonwealth, VCCC gives consumers a way to unite their voices to promote consumer issues and educate consumers. VCCC works with other organizations in Virginia and with consumer groups in other states as a member of the Consumer Federation of America. For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/Virginia-Citizens-Consumer-Council-236174056404968/?fref=ts.
SOURCE Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC), Richmond, VA