Last updated on May 11th, 2019
Former state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, along with various other conservative groups and libertarian members, announced the creation of the Virginia Energy Reform Coalition, on Tuesday. This would allow the customers to choose their power providers, breaking up the exclusively owned state’s utilities while bringing in more competition.
The coalition members claimed that the unnecessary market barriers enforced by both Dominion Energy, state’s largest energy provider and biggest corporate political donor, and the smaller Appalachian power, have halted the country’s energy economy. They believed that this kind of system has largely been unfair to the Virginians; thereby setting up the coalition was an important measure.
Whilst favoring the coalition for energy reform in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli said that the formed alliances were united in their goals of breaking up the associated control of the utilities, setting up a competitive market.
“I’m proud to stand here today with a politically eclectic group that is committed to modernizing Virginia’s electricity markets,” Cuccinelli added.
Brennan Gilmore, executive director of the liberal group Clean Virginia, has largely encouraged the political candidates to refuse contributions from Dominion and Appalachian Power. “Our utilities have taken advantage of Virginians” to protect their “privileged and lucrative” monopolies, Gilmore said.
The aim of the coalition has been to construct ways to deregulate the energy market and initiate competition that saves money for consumers. In the past, the Virginian attempts for deregulation had largely failed as many states initially started by opening energy markets for the competition, but their continuous struggle led to a total abandonment of the experiment.
Raising concerns over deregulation, Rayhan Daudani, a representative for Dominion said via email,
“Deregulation isn’t the way forward for Virginia’s energy future. In fact, it would be a step backward. Customers in deregulated states pay rates that are more than 40 per cent higher on average and don’t receive nearly as much in return.”
With the coalition, the idea of Ken Cuccinelli has been to construct a market that would allow consumers to benefit from competitive pressures, driving down energy prices in Virginia. Deregulating energy by breaking up the big utilities and selling off their generation plants might result in evolving the energy market. It might also advance the technology and alternative energy sources in the market.