Monday, February 05, 2007

Re-regulation in Virginia
Legislation backed by the state's dominant power company to pull the plug on the state's experiment with electric utility deregulation was unanimously endorsed by a Senate committee Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to a similar but competing version of the "re-regulation" bill that contains some provisions the utility, Dominion Resources, dislikes.

The two bills likely are headed to a conference committee to work out differences.

The House and Senate bills arose after the competition envisioned in 1999, when the legislature voted to deregulate utilities, failed over five years to develop. The bills would establish a "hybrid" version of regulation in which the State Corporation Commission would have limited control of how much the utilities could increase their rates in Virginia.

Without new legislation, capped rates that were part of the deregulation plan would be lifted in 2010.
The Senate and the House of Delegates on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed different versions of legislation to end Virginia's failed attempt to deregulate the electric utility industry and give the State Corporation Commission limited authority to set rates.