AGA Survey and Statistics System; AGA-CEE Natural Gas Efficiency Programs Survey: Utility expenditures for gas efficiency programs exclude data that have not been released by participating companies at the state level; U.S. Energy Information Administration; and U.S. Department of Transportation.
Statewide Elected Officials Next Election: 2021
Ralph Northam (Dem.) Governor
Justin Fairfax (Dem.) Lieutenant Governor
Mark Herring (Dem.) Attorney General
Legislature Next Election: 2023
Session Dates: 01/13/16-03/11/16
Term: 4 year
President: Justin Fairfax
President Pro Tempore: TBD
Senate Majority Leader: Dick Saslaw
Senate Minority Leader: Tommy Norment
Senate Member Breakdown
House of Delegates
Term: 2 year
Speaker of the House: TBD
Majority Leader: Eileen Filler-Corn
Minority Leader: C. Todd Gilbert
House of Delegates Member Breakdown
Virginia State Corporation Commission Commissioners: Elected by the General Assembly: 6 year termChairperson: Elected by fellow Commissioners: 1 year term
Judith Williams Jagdmann, Chairman Elected in 2006; current term ends in 2024
Patricia West, Commissioner Elected in 2008; current term ends in 2025
Mark C. Christie, Commissioner Elected in 2004; current term ends in 2022
On June 4, 2014, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called for an update of the state’s energy strategy. In doing so, McAuliffe established the Virginia Energy Council, a 20- to 25- member panel that will help develop and implement a “cohesive, comprehensive and aggressive” energy strategy. The panel has been directed to provide recommendations to lawmakers by October 1. The Council, which will include representatives from across the energy industry, is chaired by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. The group will gather and review input from residents and businesses and will seek to develop strategies for energy efficiency and make sure energy costs remain competitive for consumers. As well, the panel will address strategies to increase energy diversity, the renewable energy economy and international exports of coal from the state.
The Virginia General Assembly established state energy policy and directed the Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy to update the Virginia Energy Plan by July 1, 2010. The 2010 Virginia Energy Plan assesses the state’s energy picture through an examination of its primary resources. The plan recommends actions to meet the following goals:
Grow both traditional and alternative energy production, jobs and investment;
Increase use of conservation and efficiency; Expand public education about Virginia’s energy production and consumption, its effect on the economy and how Virginians can use energy more efficiently; Maximize the investment in clean energy research and development through the work of the Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation.
Among the key findings and recommendations are the following: Grow in-state production of energy and resulting jobs and investment by 20 percent over the next 10 years; Begin offshore oil and natural gas development and expand onshore oil and gas development through an open regulatory process that facilitates safe and environmentally sound energy production; Develop environmental response infrastructure; Assist the state’s coal and natural gas industries comply with state and federal requirements for safety, environmental management and reclamation; Expand jobs and investment in energy efficiency services; Facilitate development of local and utility energy efficiency programs; Implement the State Corporation Commission’s Virginia Energy Sense consumer energy education program;
While Virginia’s gas utilities are not required to implement energy efficiency plans, Columbia Gas of Virginia, Virginia Natural Gas and Washington Gas offer energy efficiency programs in Virginia.
On September 2, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the launch of a loan program designed to create lower financing costs for energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuel projects.
The VirginiaSAVES Green Community Program will be available to local governments and institutions, as well as commercial and industrial entities, the governor said in a news release. The program will be funded through $20 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds allocated to the state by the U.S. Department of Energy, according to the release.
Eligible Measures include:
Energy-efficient fixtures and retrofits for buildings and industrial processes, which would include mechanical systems and components including HVAC, controls, steam and hot water upgrades, electrical systems and components including lighting and lighting controls, doors and windows, insulation, refrigeration upgrades and cogeneration (combined heat and power), as well as water conserving fixtures with demonstrable energy savings.
Renewable energy systems such as solar, biomass, geothermal, micro-hydroelectric, methane capture, combined heat and power co-generation technologies and/or fuel cell technologies.
In 2012, Virginia’s Governor signed legislation that will facilitate the recovery of costs for eligible gas-line extensions that promote economic development. The law creates a deferral that preserves the cost of service associated with the facility for recovery in a future rate proceeding.
In October 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe released an “all of the above” quadrennial energy plan at the direction of the Virginia Genera Assembly. The plan provides the following recommendation relating to the expansion of natural gas infrastructure:
Expand, Improve and Increase the Reliability of Virginia’s Energy Infrastructure Support legislative and regulatory policy, such as special utility rates, to allow Virginia’s natural gas utilities to more proactively approach expansion of intrastate infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas; and support improvements and expansion of interstate natural gas pipeline infrastructure to increase capacity in currently restricted market areas, such as Central and Tidewater Virginia to improve the ability to attract new businesses and stimulate economic development in these regions
On January 2, 2015, Delegate Lee Ware (R) filed House Bill No. 1475, which establishes a procedure under which a natural gas utility may seek State Corporation Commission (SCC) approval of a system expansion plan that includes, among other things, a schedule for recovery of eligible system expansion infrastructure costs through a system expansion rider and a methodology for deferral of unrecovered eligible system expansion costs; provides for a system expansion plan and system. This bill was signed into law on March 17, 2015 and will take effect on July 1, 2015.
On June 30, 2016, Washington Gas Light (WGL) filed for a rate increase with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. In this filing, WGL proposes three initiatives to address existing limitations on residential and commercial customer access to natural gas in Virginia. The initiatives are: a contribution payment plan, as an alternative to a lump-sum up-front payment option, for any required customer contribution under WGL's general service tariff; a program that facilitates conversion to natural gas for neighborhoods and other target markets; and, a program to facilitate access to natural gas for existing, high-growth communities in Virginia by helping to fund the extension of pipelines. This matter is presently pending.
In 2011, Virginia enacted the SAVE (Steps to Advance Virginia’s Energy Plan) Act. The law allows utilities to petition the Virginia State Corporation Commission for a separate rider to recover a return on certain investments, including natural gas facility replacement projects that enhance safety and reliability, or have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing system integrity risks; Atmos Energy, Columbia Gas Virginia, Virginia Natural Gas and Washington Gas utilize the rider.
On July 25, 2014 The Virginia State Corporation Commission authorized Virginia Natural Gas to recover costs associated with the replacement of up to $105 million of infrastructure during the five-year term (2012-2016) of its SAVE Plan. The Company intends to spend up to $25 million annually with the total investment over the five-year term of the SAVE Plan capped at $105 million. Costs are recovered through a rider ("Rider E" or "SAVE Rider") on customers ‘bills as authorized by the SAVE Act.
On February 6, 2015 Washington Gas Light Company (WGL) filed an application with the Commission for approval of amendments to its SAVE Plan, which the Commission first approved in Case No. PUE-2010-000871 ("Approved SAVE Plan") and modified in its Order Approving Amended SAVE Plan in Case No . PUE-2012-00096. In this Application for an amended SAVE Plan, WGL proposed to increase its Virginia SAVE Plan expenditures for the period January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2017 ("Period") by approximately $75.2 million, for a total of $194 .4 million for the Period, for the expansion of the scope of certain of its approved SAVE Plan programs and implementation of new programs.
WGL proposes to expand its pre-1975 Plastic Service Replacements program, and the Copper Service Replacement program to include all services in each of these categories. The Company also proposed to add two new distribution system replacement programs.
Program 8 - a Meter Set Survey and Remediation Program - will address the replacement of piping if certain conditions are discovered during the meter set survey, the replacement of shallow main that is occasionally discovered, and the replacement of gauge lines for medium pressure main-line valves.
Program 9 – a Meter Set Survey Technology Implementation Program - will automate the Company's manual processes by constructing- a data model and technology solution that will provide integration with a range of work management systems, document management systems, and mapping systems.
This filing also calls for the approval of an additional one 1 per year of bare steel replacement on top of the company’s currently-approved 25 mile per year pace and .7 miles per year of cast iron replacement on top of the company’s current 13.3 mile per year pace.
In December of 2015, Virginia Natural Gas asked the State Corporation Commission to approve a plan to further accelerate its replacement of aging infrastructure. Since 2012, the company has installed 155 miles of new main line and more than 9,000 new service lines to customers, replacing aging connections, and expects to finish work on another nine miles of main line and 600 service lines by the end of the year. The proposed plan aims to replace the final 23 miles of cast iron pipe in the company’s system, as well as 293 miles of bare steel main. If approved, this proposal would authorize the company to invest $30 million in 2016 and $35 million a year from 2017 to 2021, up to a maximum of $210 million.
On March 17, 2016, The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved an expansion of Virginia Natural Gas’ (VNG) infrastructure modernization program. Under the newly-approved plan, VNG plans to invest $30 million in its Steps to Advance Virginia's Energy (SAVE) program in 2016 and up to $35 million annually after that to replace more than 200 miles of aging pipeline infrastructure through 2021. Since 2012, Virginia Natural Gas has invested about $82 million in replacing more than 160 miles of pipeline with modern materials.
The SCC stated that it would require VNG to provide a list of completed projects during the preceding calendar year, a list of planned projects for the current calendar year and details about what the projects address. This list is to be filed annually in January.
Virginia Natural owns 2 CNG stations in Virginia that are open to the public and has a multiple NGV rates schedules in its tariff.
On September 2, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the launch of a loan program designed to create lower financing costs for energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuel projects. One eligible measure of this program is the deployment of alternative fueling infrastructure and vehicles or stationary power sources, with examples being the fueling infrastructure and OEM vehicles and/or retrofit kits associated with converting existing diesel and/or gasoline fleets over to CNG or LNG or propane or biodiesel fuel.
A Weather Normalization Adjustment (WNA) rider is in place for Columbia Gas of Virginia (CGV), Atmos Energy, Roanoke Natural Gas, Southwestern Virginia Natural Gas, Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), and Washington Gas Light (WGL).
A revenue normalization adjustment (decoupling) mechanism is in place that is designed to mitigate the impact on CGV's, VNG’s and WGL's revenues of customers' participation in energy conservation programs.
On June 30, 2016, Washington Gas Light (WGL) filed a base rate case with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. In the filing, WGL is proposing a Revenue Normalization Adjustment mechanism to replace its current Weather Normalization Adjustment and CARE Ratemaking Adjustment. This matter is presently pending.