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Media Statement: Virginia Lawmakers Show Appetite for Competitive Energy Market

Del. Keam, Del. Ware lead bipartisan effort to break up utility monopolies in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2020

Richmond, VA — A House subcommittee expressed interest tonight in the Virginia Energy Reform Act, a robust bill that would reshape Virginia’s energy market from one dominated by utility monopolies to one open to retail competition. The House Labor and Commerce energy subcommittee moved to carry the bill over until next session, a noteworthy move considering the political influence of Virginia’s dominant utility monopoly, Dominion Energy. The subcommittee’s move will allow the legislature to continue discussions of reform and consider the bill again in the 2021 session. The Virginia Energy Reform Coalition, a lead proponent of the bill said this in response, 

“Virginia legislators proved today that they are finally ready to consider a post-monopoly energy market in Virginia. Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Democratic Del. Mark Keam and Republican Del. Lee Ware, lawmakers broke through what once seemed like an impossible barrier – considering Virginia’s energy market on the customers’ terms, not the terms of Dominion Energy.”

“Reforming our energy market into one in which customers are in control will lower prices, protect low-income communities, and unleash market innovation. We look forward to working with legislators and stakeholders in the coming months to ensure that legislation to power Virginia with a 21st-century energy market is as strong as possible. When the Commonwealth embraces a competitive energy market, Virginia can start leading the pack towards a better  energy future powered by lower energy rates, job growth, and innovation.”

Del. Keam described the bill as a “pro-consumer, pro-competition, and a good governance” measure. Former Economic Advisor to FERC Chairman Pat Wood III Rob Gramlich also spoke in support of the bill. 

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CONTACT:

Cassady Craighill,
Clean Virginia Communications Director
[email protected], 828-817-3328


Letter to VERC Email List:

Letter to VERC Email List:

Last week, two Virginia legislators announced their historic, bipartisan proposal to dramatically reshape the energy system in the Commonwealth, ending the current unfair monopoly control system and opening the way for retail competition and consumer choice and safeguards for low-income families.

Delegates Mark Keam (D-Fairfax, right in the photo) and Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) announced the “Virginia Energy Reform Act” at a joint press conference in Richmond Tuesday. The bill is capturing tons of attention from the media, legislators and advocacy groups.

Please take a minute to thank Dels. Keam and Ware for their leadership! 

— Delegate Keam: [email protected]
— Delegate Ware: [email protected]

In his opening remarks, Del. Keam said the bill would disrupt the current system, where families and businesses have no choice in who provides their electricity, and will create a new paradigm:

“This bill is pro-choice for consumers, pro-competition for marketplace, pro-innovation, pro-technology and above all it’s going to lower the cost and keep Virginia at a place where we’ve always been, which is an innovation leader. “

Del. Ware noted that he’s been a legislator for more than two decades reviewing energy policy in Virginia, and although there’s been pronounced innovation in the energy sector, our regulatory system is holding us back.

“There is a kind of a stasis that occurs pretty naturally when you have what has historically been a monopoly situation. As you look back to last century, that’s what we’ve had. …  We’re not where we could be to take advantage of innovation, consumer choice, I think we need to enhance it a much greater level than we have done and take this chance to unshackle us from the kind of monopoly regulation we’ve had.”

Please take a minute to thank Dels. Keam and Ware for their leadership! 

Thanks for your commitment to energy choice in Virginia!
 
The VERC team


PS: Be sure to like our Facebook page and follow the conversation on Twitter at #VaEnergyReform.

Members of the Virginia Energy Reform Coalition

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