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Va. attorney general announces utility review

Thursday - 7/19/2012, 6:35pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's attorney general said Thursday that his office is studying the effects of a state law that allows electric utilities to earn rate bonuses for tackling projects or meeting goals specified in the statute.

Republican Kenneth Cuccinelli said that as counsel for consumers in electric rate cases, his office has a duty to assist the State Corporation Commission in a report on the 2007 law. He said the aim is to determine whether the benefits of the bonuses, known as "adders," outweigh the costs now that five years of data is available.

"The goal is not to reach some predetermined result, but rather to have a thorough review of what the goals were of having the adders in the first place, what has actually happened as a result of the adders, and what they have cost in terms of higher electricity prices," Cuccinelli said in a news release.

He said state officials and utilities have no control over federal regulations that have driven up electric bills, so that makes it more important for them to control costs wherever they can.

Cuccinelli said legislators, citizens, environmental groups, industrial companies and electric companies will have input into the review of the five-year-old Electric Utility Regulation Act. He expects to report findings sometime in the fall.

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