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VCCC Applauds Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Counsel for Standing Up to Protect Consumers

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RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Virginia State Corporation Commission must take action now to keep Dominion Resources from needlessly saddling Virginia consumers with billions of dollars in higher rates to finance the North Anna 3 nuclear reactor boondoggle that experts have estimated could cost an astonishing $19 billion, according to Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC).

VCCC President Irene Leech said: “The massive $19 billion cost for the North Anna 3 nuclear reactor project makes it the biggest single threat posed today against the pocketbooks of Virginia consumers. This has the potential to make the huge consumer backlash against Virginia’s infamous car tax of a few years ago seem like a mild disagreement. The ever-escalating cost of this project and the fact that it is at least twice as expensive as other alternatives, including energy efficiency and renewables, makes this a situation that cries out for responsible state officials to speak up now and call a halt to this monumental waste. We already have spent nearly half a billion of ratepayer money on North Anna 3. Enough is enough!”

Leech added: “VCCC applauds Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s Division of Consumer Counsel for having the courage to stand up to the monolithic political forces that are trying to ram North Anna 3 through with no regard for consumers. We agree that this project is so ill-considered that the state must insist that this time ratepayers not foot the bill if it must be abandoned before completion, as happened when it was attempted before and has happened with so many fiscally unsound nuclear projects. Already ratepayers have paid a lot for work toward this project. It is time to stop the bleeding.”

“Current projections make North Anna 3 by far the most expensive nuclear reactor ever proposed in the U.S. By the utility’s own estimate, it would cost approximately twice what the alternatives would – wasting a staggering $10 billion dollars.” Leech said: “The construction of North Anna 3 would dramatically, and unnecessarily, increase consumer bills by about 25 percent in the state. And it would double the rate base of Dominion in Virginia, thereby doubling its income. While that may sound like a wonderful thing for Dominion, there is no reason for state officials to stand by and allow this ransacking of consumer pocketbooks to take place.”

Leech said: “North Anna 3 is not needed to meet the targets in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. It would create ‘excess’ reductions in carbon, which, because of the very high cost of the resulting nuclear power, would have no value in the marketplace. If fuel diversity is the concern, Virginia would be better off catching up with other states by developing more renewable energy resources and better supporting energy efficiency, which would be a bargain compared to North Anna 3.”

“In short, North Anna 3 is a bad deal for consumers and it will not help our state meet its obligation to reduce carbon pollution,” Leech said. “There is simply no reason for the state of Virginia to allow this onslaught on the household budgets of state residents to take place.”

SOURCE Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC)

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