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Virginia solar: Higher power rates likely from Dominion Energy’s nuclear extension plan

Dominion Energy announced earlier this week that it filed for another 20-year extension to keep its nuclear power plant in Surry, Virginia, operating at least until 2053.

The power company’s current licenses for Surry Units 1 and 2 (located between Richmond and the Hampton Roads area) will end in 2032 and 2033, respectively, and the company cites economic and tax benefits with keeping the plant open for the long-term.

While nuclear energy is a much cleaner source of power than electricity produced by burning fossil fuels, the company says that it “could spend as much as $4 billion over the next decade on the Surry-North Anna relicensing program.” The Virginian-Pilot writer Kimberly Pierceall writes that the cost is likely to be passed on to ratepayers, which means Dominion customers can expect higher power bills coming in the future.

Rising power bills are nothing new for anyone who knows about the costs for electricity. In fact, the cost for residential electricity in the United States has increased by nearly 70 percent since 2001. What happens to a power grid that continues to get older and needs future upgrades? The potential for additional rate increases is very real. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

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