Consumer group says Dominion needs Virginia SCC approval for North Anna 3

A group called the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC) claims that Dominion (NYSE:D) “is proceeding unlawfully” and needs approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) before the power company can build a third reactor unit at the North Anna nuclear plant.

The VCCC petition seeks a declaratory judgment from the SCC. The citizen group claims that North Anna 3 would have an estimated total cost of at least $19.2bn, and could raise customers’ rates by 26% or more. 

“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,” the citizen group said in the petition. “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.”

“This is a huge raid on the pocketbooks of Virginia consumers and businesses,” said VCCC President Irene Leech. “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,” Leech said.

The citizen group noted that Mark Cooper, Ph.D., a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has filed testimony against the North Anna 3 project. Cooper is now a senior fellow for economic analysis, Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.

Cooper has testified that North Anna 3 should not be in Dominion’s integrated resource plan (IRP).

Dominion affiliate Virginia Power currently plans to file a combined construction and operating (COL) with the NRC in 2017.

Virginia Power has not yet committed to building a new nuclear unit at North Anna nuclear in Louisa County, but wants to keep its nuclear options open in light of coal plant retirements and carbon dioxide reductions under the proposed EPA Clean Power Plan.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.