United Shareholders, Customers and Concerned Citizens call on Dominion to Embrace Change Now
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A diverse coalition today called on Dominion Energy to take concrete and meaningful actions to address climate change and help low-income families reduce their bills through increased efficiency.
The coalition, which includes Friends of the Earth, Mothers Out Front, the North Carolina Alliance to Protect our People and the Places we live (NC APPPL), South Carolina Poor People’s Campaign, Indivisible Virginia and Dominion Energy shareholders, took action at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Columbia, S.C.
Fund managers with nearly $2 trillion in assets recently called on Dominion and other major electricity generators to commit to going carbon neutral. But Dominion Energy has not made real progress in helping low-income families lower their bills by becoming more energy efficient. Meanwhile, the company is building costly, dangerous fracked gas pipelines like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will substantially boost carbon emissions. The coalition warned investors that their assets were at risk as long as Dominion favors pipeline construction in favor of sustainable, long-term investments in renewables and efficiency.
“Dominion Energy has ignored multiple requests for an updated economic analysis on their Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” Freeda Cathcart, Dominion shareholder, explained how she submitted a floor resolution by the deadline calling for a vote by the shareholders to require an updated economic analysis before any more was spent on the ACP but Dominion refused for it to be presented for a vote. Cathcart went on to say “As a former SCANA shareholder that suffered the financial consequences of the V.C. Summer debacle, it’s imperative Dominion’s executives fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities.” SCANA lawsuits are still unfolding including a recent ruling by a federal judge to allow a civil fraud lawsuit by former SCANA shareholders to go forward seeking to recover some $2.7 billion in alleged losses to their stock holdings.
“Dominion Energy is a 48 percent owner of the economically and environmentally irresponsible Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” said Donna Chavis, a Senior Fossil Fuels Campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “The company is wasting and estimated $20 million per week of shareholder money on an unnecessary pipeline that is over two years behind schedule. Shareholders should demand that the company drop this unnecessary project before even more damage is done to communities and environment along its route.”
“Dominion, like Duke Energy, is a parasite, not a good corporate citizen. Its business model is about sucking money from ratepayers for unneeded and unwanted infrastructure,” said Greg Yost of Mars Hill, NC is member of NC APPPL, one of many groups in North Carolina fighting Dominion’s proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “As the cost of renewables and battery storage continues to fall, both the public and investors are going to ask why Dominion management went all in on expensive, dirty, and outdated technology. Common sense says that you pick the option that is affordable, not the one that is going to lose in the marketplace.”
“Dominion is trying to take away my right to pass on to my children and grandchildren what my grandfather passed on to me – a safe place to raise a family,” said Tom Clark, a North Carolina landowner whose property was seized by eminent domain to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. “Dominion is doing this with their proposed 36 inch ‘pipebomb’ filled with 1.5 billion cubic feet of fracked gas, going within 900 feet of our home. This is our home, our memories and most of all OUR LAND, not Dominion’s. We do not inherit this land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children and grandchildren!”
“Before I am an activist or an organizer, I am a mother and a grandmother,” said Mary Cerulli, a volunteer with Mothers Out Front, a grassroots group led by mothers and allies fighting climate change. “Dominion has, in their irresponsible decision-making, demonstrated no concern for the future of my children and grandchildren and the world they will live in. Dominion must stop building dangerous pipelines, help low-income families lower their energy bills, and take real, concrete steps to bring their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.”
“I’m ashamed to say that when I pay my electric bill – one of the highest in the country – I pay it to Dominion now,” said Drew Hudson, Friends of the Earth’s Senior National Organizer, and a Columbia ratepayer. “It’s a sin, a crime, and an unnecessary tragedy that South Carolina, one of the poorest states in the country, pays this corporation some of the highest utility rates in the nation. Dominion made $3.021 billion last year, and paid NOTHING in federal taxes. In fact it received a $45 million rebate – which it blew on bonuses for its executives, posh lobbying campaigns in our legislature, and a spree of misleading advertising. How is that fair when South Carolina ratepayers are struggling to make ends meet?”
“Shareholders want Dominion to avoid creating ‘sacrifice zones,’ areas in which low-income communities have to bear the heaviest burden of pollution and environmental damage, the effects of which are short-and-long-term health problems for children and adults, robbing them of good quality of life indefinitely,” said shareholder Pamela Greenlaw. “Shareholders want Dominion to make sound and fair decisions and move into a resilient and just energy future. Dominion must be a leader; it must pivot away from depleting our deep gas and oil reserves, from increasing GHG’s, from building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion must move into executing serious plans to maximize growth of renewable energy and saturation of energy efficiency to benefit all and harm none of its customers and residents impacted by Dominion’s decisions. This is what shareholders want.“