There are two main reasons why municipalizing Arlington’s electrical utility is the right thing to do.
The first is climate change. We are in the early stages of a climate crisis that will will have catastrophic effects both around the world and here in Arlington. The Arlington County Board has recognized as much and has set carbon reduction goals in line with the recommendations of the IPCC through a new Community Energy Plan (CEP) approved in 2019.
The single largest barrier to achieving this goal is Dominion Energy. Dominion, the sole electrical utility in Arlington County, has made it clear it has no intention of decarbonizing its electrical power generation and has demonstrated disregard for the scientific consensus about climate change. It is simply impossible for Arlington County (or anywhere where Dominion has a monopoly, for that matter) to meet the necessary carbon reduction goals if it gets its electricity from Dominion Energy.
The second reason is that Arlington would have local control of our electric utility. This would allow profits from electricity sales to be invested back into the community rather than distributed to private investors. It could be used to subsidize energy efficiency programs, home solar installations, and more.
What would the process look like?
- The County Board orders a feasibility study that takes into account carbon reduction and energy equity goals laid out it its own updated CEP
- The County Board orders a referendum be held
- Arlington voters pass the referendum (a simple majority is required)
- The State Corporation Commission approves of the takeover
- Arlington works with the State Corporation Commission and Dominion Energy to determine a fair price for Dominion’s assets that Arlington would be taking over
- Arlington uses a bond to fund the takeover, and Dominion’s assets are transferred to a newly created Arlington Electrical Utility