Virginia ratepayer advocates call for election of SCC Commissioners
We the undersigned request either the General Assembly elect or the Governor appoint two
Commissioners to the State Corporation Commission (“SCC”). Article IX of the Virginia
Constitution states “Whenever a vacancy in the [State Corporation] Commission shall occur or
exist when the General Assembly is in session, the General Assembly shall elect a successor for
such unexpired term. If the General Assembly is not in session, the Governor shall forthwith
appoint pro tempore a qualified person to fill the vacancy for a term ending thirty days after the
commencement of the next regular session of the General Assembly and the General Assembly
shall elect a successor for such unexpired term.”
The signatories to this letter applaud the bold steps taken in the 2023 Session to re-empower the
SCC so that the Commission can make decisions in the best interests of ratepayers while
maintaining a healthy environment for utilities to make a fair rate of return. However, incumbent
upon this reinvigorated responsibility is the obvious need for a full slate of Commissioners.
Furthermore, there are numerous and significant complex cases on the SCC docket this year.
These cases deserve a hearing before sitting, elected (or appointed) Commissioners.
While we write with a primary focus on utility regulation, the SCC plays a vital role in
regulating, among other things, railroad safety, financial institutions, casualty insurance and the
new health benefit exchange. These sectors also deserve a robust proceeding before a full bench
of SCC Commissioners.
These Commissioner seats have been vacant for too long. While the SCC’s highly professional
staff is ensuring the Commission continues to fulfill its statutory and constitutional
responsibilities, the General Assembly is short-changing the citizens of the Commonwealth by
not electing judges for two successive sessions. This is unacceptable and must come to an end
with an election of two qualified professionals to the Commission.