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Tel: 804.864.1100

Author Archive: Brian Greene

Virginia Commission Denies Walmart’s Request to Shop for Electricity

On February 25, 2019, the Virginia State Corporation Commission entered a Final Order denying Walmart’s petitions seeking permission under Va. Code § 56-577(A)(4) (“Section A 4”) to aggregate or combine the demands of certain electricity accounts. Walmart had filed a petition to aggregate 120 accounts in the Dominion service territory and 44 accounts in the Appalachian Power service territories. Had the petitions been approved, Walmart intended to enter into a contract to purchase electricity from its affiliate, Texas Retail Energy, but would remain as a distribution customers of the utilities. But, the Commission denied both petitions.

Under § 56-577(A)(4), nonresidential customers can aggregate their load to hit the 5 MW floor needed to switch electricity supply from the customer’s utility to a competitive service provider (“CSP”). Section A 4 requires the customers to seek Commission approval to aggregate. A company like Walmart must seek permission because the Code treats non-contiguous sites that are under 5 MW as separate customers. The Commission may approve the petition if it finds that: (1) “neither such customers’ incumbent electric utility nor retail customers of such utility that do not choose to obtain electric energy from alternate suppliers will be adversely affected in a manner contrary to the public interest by granting such petition,” and (2) “approval of such petition is consistent with the public interest.”

In the Final Order, the Commission found that remaining customers would be adversely affected in a manner contrary to the public interest. The Commission cited to alleged costs that would be shifted to remaining customers attributable to the loss of Walmart’s load. The Commission also cited to the alleged bill impacts that the utilities presented in the cases which purported to show the increases to an average residential customer’s monthly bills in the event Walmart was allowed to shop. The Commission also cited to the potential for lower earned returns for the utilities and found that the potential for load growth in a utility service territory did not matter.

The Commission determined that “the harm to customers who do not, or cannot, switch to a CSP is contrary to the public interest.” The Commission noted that the vast majority of Dominion and APCo customers have no ability to shop for solely lower prices. The Commission discussed that since 2007, the average Dominion and APCo residential customer has seen monthly bills increase by $48 (73%) and $26 (29%), respectively, and that with the mandates in Senate Bill 966, passed in 2018, more increases are likely to come.

Of course, there were numerous arguments presented by Walmart and other parties in the proceedings that addressed and countered the Commission’s findings summarized above.

The Commission concluded that if Walmart believes the current statutory structure results in rates that are too high, or that the public policy of Virginia should be to institute retail choice on a far more extensive scale than required under current law, “its potential for recourse may be found through the legislative process.” That process would begin with the 2020 legislative session because the 2019 sessions ended on Sunday, February 24 — the day before the Commission entered the Final Order.

The case numbers are PUR-2017-00173 (Dominion) and PUR-2017-00174 (APCo). Follow those links to see all the documents, including the Final Order, filed in each case. If you have questions about these cases, electricity purchases or rates, or need legal counsel regarding electricity regulation, please contact one of our Virginia regulatory lawyers.

Top Lawyers Make the Virginia Legal Elite

Eric Hurlocker and Will Reisinger, of our business, energy law and regulation practices, are listed among the Virginia Legal Elite, published in the December issue of Virginia Business magazine, publisher Bernie Neimeier has announced.

Eric Hurlocker at his desk

Eric Hurlocker is co-managing member of GreeneHurlocker

“Will and I are honored and pleased to be counted among the lawyers that our peers consider experienced and trustworthy, and to be recognized for the continued growth of the firm’s business and energy practices,” said Hurlocker.

Named to the list in Business Law, Hurlocker is a co-founder and co-managing member of the firm, with over two decades of practice in business and energy law. He has focused on advising clients in the areas of energy law as well as commercial transactions and general corporate work for energy and technology companies, manufacturers and services providers. After working in large law firms and for utility firms, Hurlocker joined with Brian Greene five years ago to form the GreeneHurlocker firm, which concentrates on work in energy law and for businesses operating in the mid-Atlantic.

Lawyer Will Reisinger

Will Reisinger is counsel in the energy and regulatory law practices.

Named to the list in Legislative/Regulatory/Administrative law, Reisinger, before joining GreeneHurlocker in 2016, served in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia representing ratepayers in energy and utility matters before the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Supreme Court of Virginia. Earlier, he was a staff attorney for a non-profit environmental organization, where he worked to enforce state and federal environmental standards.

The Virginia Business Legal Elite list is compiled from nominations and votes submitted by the members of the Virginia Bar Association and Virginia State Bar. It has been published annually since 2000 by the magazine.

Moves Towards Supplier Consolidated Billing

In this Energy Update, Brian Greene explains how Maryland’s Public Service Commission is soliciting comments on the implementation of supplier consolidated billing. For more information about billing plans and regulation, contact Brian or any of our mid-Atlantic energy lawyers.

Will Reisinger On Faculty for Renewable Energy CLE

Will ReisingerWill Reisinger energy lawyer, counsel in energy law and regulation, will be one of the faculty for the Renewable Energy in Virginia CLE, co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Section of the Virginia State Bar and produced by the Virginia CLE section of the Virginia Law Foundation, on Friday, September 22.

The two-hour session will be a live web broadcast on the Virginia CLE website on Friday, September 22 at 10:00 a.m. and will be rebroadcast Tuesday, October 24 with a live question and answer session.

Virginia CLE said the educational program will be a “primer on the regulatory environment for renewable energy in the Commonwealth” [and] “will spotlight the most pressing issues new projects face, offer must-knows to advise a client in this space, and take a look ahead at the evolving landscape.” In addition to Reisinger, faculty will include Will Cleveland of the Southern Environmental Law Center and Matt Gooch of the Office of Attorney General of Virginia.

Before joining GreeneHurlocker in 2016, Reisinger served in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia representing ratepayers in energy and utility matters before the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Supreme Court of Virginia. Earlier, he was a staff attorney for a non-profit environmental organization, where he worked to enforce state and federal environmental standards. Reisinger is a frequent speaker on energy law and environmental regulation.

If you want informaiotn on this CLE, or on any issues in renewable energy law, please contact Will or one of our energy regulatory lawyers.


Final Thoughts

Sunday, 2:55 AM EST — We made it home last night around 7:30-ish. The parents greeted their weary kids (and chaperones) with hugs and smiles, and everyone scattered. 

Ruth was a sight for sore eyes. I really missed her! Once home, I got showered and bourbonized, both of which felt fantastic. Avi had a hard time unwinding but he finally passed out. 

Right now it’s 2:55 AM EST — 3:55 PM in Saitama — and I’m wide awake after about 4 hours of sleep. This same thing happened to me in Saitama the first 4 or 5 nights, which gave me a chance to blog in the mornings. I had a lot more time to blog than I had anticipated! It figures that once my body adjusted to Tokyo Time, it was time to come home. The blog took on a life of its own but I’m hoping I accomplished my goals of keeping those Stateside in the loop and also making a record that Avi and I can share for many years. 

I already miss my new Japanese friends. I will miss running around being silly with 23 awesome and wide-eyed kids who love baseball and adventure. I will miss spending time with my fellow chaperones who threw themselves into Japanese culture wholeheartedly and unabashedly. I loved being part of this team that took these kids to Japan.

Going back to work will be rude, I’m sure. Brian Shepard and I were talking on the bus from Dulles and we both feel like everything at our work is under control. It will take time to dig out, which is expected. It’s the stuff we don’t know about (yet) that happened while we were gone that makes us nervous! 

Before I sign off, I want to give huge props to Brian Shepard, our fearless leader, for organizing this trip and for committing the time and energy to make it work. 

Thanks also to Deborah Knighton for taking care of travel atrangements and for all the other stuff she did behind the scenes that none of us knows about. There are others to thank, as many contributed to the success of this trip, but Brian and Deborah were instrumental.

And thank you to Akiko, Shimizu, and all of the wonderful people in Japan that showed us great time. Staying in Akiko’s home, I saw firsthand the organization, time, communication skills, and energy needed on a daily basis to run one of these visits. It’s a LOT of work. I hope they slept in this morning.

So that’s a wrap. Thus endeth the trip and this blog. If anyone has any questions about this trip, future trips, or the exchange program in general, please send them my way. It will give me a chance to talk about this amazing experience. 

Sayonara and Kampai! 


On Our Way Home… (with updates)

6:07 PM: We’re on the bus. Bad news — there’s traffic to get on to 95. But, we stopped and got the kids cheese sticks, granola bars and water. We got some Adult Soda…

3:05: PM EST: The Eagle has landed. Lots of tired-looking kids in red shirts on this flight. Let’s get ’em home!

2:50 PM EST: We are beginning our descent into Dulles. And if anyone was wondering, my fave part of The Godfather was when they kill the guy in a car and the heavy guy says, “Get the cannoli!”  Feeling a bit punchy right now…

5:55 PM: We’re in the air, on our way to The United States of America. We should arrive at Dulles around 3:20 PM EST. I’m watching The Godfather and Avi is watching Pirates of the Caribbean. 

Charlie and JD are enjoying the flight so far….

3:30 PM: We have boarded!

2:20 PM: We have made it through security and are at gate 31 at the Tokyo airport. Other than security finding five water bottles (one at a time ) in Harper Perry’s carry-on, things are running smoothly. Everyone is roaming the duty-free shops, grabbing something to eat and drink, and gearing up for the marathon flight home.

12:05: PM — I’ll post a few as we travel home today. Right now we’re at an outlet mall eating lunch at a California Pizza Kitchen. We think this is part of the U. S. re-entry program. I’m told the airport is 15 minutes away. 

Days 7 & 8 — Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I was unable to do a full Day 7 blog yesterday but the game blogs should give you an idea of how we spent our Friday morning. Won 1, tied 1. That puts our 2017 Japan record at 1-3-2, but it doesn’t matter. If you saw the kids at the big fireworks event last night, you would have seen that friendships, not baseball, is really what this trip is about. Baseball is really the facilitator to forge all these relationships. 

Ok enough philosophy. After the game yesterday Shimizu (basically the head of Saitama baseball) took Brian Shepard, Stephen Spraker and me to a Japanese spa. Quick shout out to Boyd Bullock and Scott Coleman, whom Shimizu took to the spa 2 years ago. We asked if Boyd and Scott enjoyed the spa, and Shimizu said they did very much and that they “swam around like puppies.” That sealed it for us. We had to go to the spa.

It starts with a hot whrlpool and then we went to an outside pool of very hot water. After that, a shower and then a dip into cold water, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Ok hold on. I’m writing this at breakfast and Akiko just put this on the table:

That’s French toast, pineapple, yogurt, salad and chocolate chip muffins and coffee. I don’t think I’ll need lunch today. 

Back to the spa– it took about an hour. There’s a small cafe there so we grabbed a Sapporo afterwards.  It was very relaxing and a great way to spend the last full day in Japan. The Japanese men were very impressed with Spraker. I’ll leave that at that!

Last night was a huge fireworks show. This is a Japanese national holiday. Akiko says it’s Mountain Day which is a fairly new holiday because there were no national holidays in the month of August. Imagine the July 4 fireworks at the Carrillon on steroids and with better food and you can walk around with beer.  Sounds fun, right?

I’m now on the bus headed for Tokyo. We’ll see a temple this morning and then stop at an outlet mall for pizza before the plane. 

We said goodbye to our host families just now at the Urawa stadium. These families are the sweetest nicest people and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for us and our kids. It’s a huge commitment of time and resources and they never complain and treat us like kings (and in Ruthie’s and Annabelle’s case, queens). Domo Arigato!

Here’s a picture of Akiko, Tomohiro, their daughter Shiori and me. Shiori came to Richmond a few years ago and stayed with the Lifsons.  They and their son Shunta showed me a phenomenal week and I’m very thankful. And I found out last night that Tomohiro is a big Huey Lewis & the News fan so I was happy to be stuck with him and his family! 

See you soon Richmond, and sayonara Saitama!

Live from Arakawa Field

1:15 PM — We tied Game 2, 6-6. We jumped out to a nice lead thanks in large part to Tal Spraker’s 3 RBI’s. And, we turned a triple play!  I’ll write more later.  Great games from Demm, Connor, Quigley, Garbett and others, But if your last name is Spraker you should be smiling right now. 🙂 

10:32 AM — Ball game. Charlie Knighton with the 6-out save. Ready for Game 2 but no blogging b/c I am incapable of double-tasking. So I’ll check in later. 

10:22 AM — Richmond is winning 13 to 11 in the top of the fifth inning. I had to step away to warm up with the  team for the next game. I’m not sure anyone reads this blog anyway. We are now headed to the bottom of the fifth. Time to play some more defense!

9:55 AM — Henry Knighton on to pitch in the 3rd. This is what Henry looks like:

9:50 AM — We’re up 13-7 heading to the bottom 3rd. We just put up an 11-spot!

9:45 AM — Richmond storms back to take the lead in the top of the third. Big hits from the Brothers Knighton and a mammoth ground rule double from Cam Paoloni and we’re still batting. 

9:25 AM — The first inning is over and it was not cool. We’re down 7-2. We’ve got some work to do. On the plus side, I just learned how to insert a picture into the blog in real time. Julie Conn leads off the second inning with a single.

9:12 AM –Annabel was throwing strikes but they seem to have either caught up with her fastball or perhaps she is tipping her pitches, we’ll never know. Brendan Engel in now down 3-2.

9:01 AM — We are on the board! Julian Raffenot with a two-run single to left field and Richmond leads 2-0.. We head to the bottom of the first. Annabelle Whitehead on the mound.

8:55 AM — We are underway on Friday morning here in Japan. We are playing a team comprised of very athletic girls this morning. Annabel Whitehead leading it off for Richmond.

Day 6 — Earthquakes and Baseball

We had “host time” on Thursday and then reported to the fields by 5 PM for the games.

My initial plan had been to go to Avi’s home and spend the morning with him and his host family. Then we would meet others for an early lunch at a sushi restaurant. That fell through when Avi slept until 11 AM! And the only reason I say 11 AM is because his host mom woke him up. So, I met them at the restaurant. I was happy to let him sleep. He needs it. 

Not to bury the lead, but while waiting for Avi to wake up, I experienced my first Japanese earthquake. I was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee, reading about”fire & fury,” and generally minding my own business. Then I heard what sounded like a very strong gust of wind outside. I looked out the window but there was no wind or rain. The earth was quaking, my mind was aching, and we were making it and you shook me all night long and … um …. sorry … I got distracted. My bad.

The house swayed back-and-forth a bit and then the earthquake was over. Akiko tells us that Japan experiences two or three earthquakes of that size every month. As Marty Conn said, “I prefer rainbows.”

We met at a cool sushi restaurant for lunch. The food was on conveyor belts. Here are some pictures.

We met at the fields for a late dinner and warm-ups. We played the same two teams we played last Saturday. I kept a running blog so I won’t repeat everything here. Overall, we played very good defense, made more contact than last week, and threw strikes. We ran into trouble At times in each of those areas but I’m looking forward to our games Friday morning.

Here are a few Julie Conn pictures because I know Heather is a loyal blog reader. Gotta take care of my customers.

And, here are some Avi pictures because I like being married to Ruth:

JD Stemhagen had a sweet throw to second to nail a would-be base stealer. Let’s go to the video tape:

Here’s a few pictures of the after game. Check out how many photographers were taking the team photo after game 2. Props to Kurt Stemhagen for giving me the idea for this picture.

 We are off to the field this morning for two more games. I will try to blog during Game 1 but I am coaching game 2 and I am not capable of blogging and coaching simultaneously

Let’s Play Ball! Live Updates….

8:35 PM: … and that’s a wrap from Japan, where Japan wins Game 2, 5-0. We’ll be back at it again tomorrow morning, barring rain. Right now, everyone is taking pictures, exchanging gifts, laughing, and forging friendships that will last a lifetime. 

[Editor’s Note: that was the most campy and corny way I knew to end the bloggging for tonight. If it caused you to sigh and roll your eyes, then my work is done here.]

Goodnight from Siatama. I’ll try to live blog tomorrow’s games. We start at 9 AM Friday Siatama Time, which I think is like 2:30 AM last Tuesday in Richmond. 

8:31 PM: We head to the seventh, still down 5-0. Richmond has settled into a nice groove defensively with scoreless innings from JD Stemhagen, Henry Knighton and Avi Greene. Actually, I can’t remember who was pitching when Japan hit its home run to right field. Doesn’t matter. JD, Henry, Avi, and Brendan have each pitched well the last 4 innings. We need to get the Batz rolling. Funny — I dictated that sentence and “bats” came out as “Batz.” Good sign???

8:06 PM: Richmond got its first clean inning in the bottom fourth. John Garbett will lead off the top fifth.

7:58 PM: Richmond’s 4th inning rally fell short. After Sandy Kuhn got hit by a pitch (he’s fine after some magic spray from the Japanese team) and JD Stemhagen singled, Richmond failed to score and is down 4-0 going to the bottom of the fourth. Brendan Engle takes over on the mound.

7:50 PM: 1 homerun puts Japan up 4-0 (Dude hit one to RF that I think Annabelle is still running after it) but Richmond has settled down and is playing very good defense. 

7:45 PM: Richmond failed to score in the top 3rd despite what I will call an infield single by Avi Greene (I am being generous here but my parents are avid readers of this blog and as far as I know I’m still in the will so we’ll call it an infield single. The shortstop’s throw was wide and Avi made a nice ballet move to avoid the tag at first. He promptly got gunned down trying to steal 2nd.) Henry Knighton takes the mound for Richmond, down 3-0.

7:30 PM: Japan scored 2 and now leads 2-0 after 1. JD Stemhagen nailed a guy at second trying to steal for the second out and August Lange made a nice play to field a grounder for out number three. Now we go to the second.

7:15 PM: Game two is underway. Richmond fails to score in the top of the first despite a single by Mason Quigley. John Garbett takes the mound for the away team.

7:00 PM: Richmond drops game 1 7-4. They only had a chance to play 2.5 innings because of time. We scored two runs in the top of the third after a double by Harper Perry scored George Dewey White, who had reached on an error. Cam Paoloni singled to score Harper. 

The second game will start soon. 

6:30 PM: Richmond got a little something going there in the top of the second. Three consecutive singles followed by a dart from Julian Raffenot scired 2. We’re in business. We go to the bottom of the second and Cam Paoloni takes over on the mound.

6:15 PM:  After one inning Japan leads Richmond 3-0. A couple of errors caused some problems for us. We go to the top of the second.

Thursday 6:00 PM — It’s a beautiful night for baseball here in Saitama! Game 1 just started and game two will begin immediately after the conclusion of game one. Each kid will play in one game tonight.
Richmond just went 1-2-3 in the top of the first. Harper Perry takes the mound in the bottom of the first.

I’ll do a few blog entries as the evening proceeds. Text me if you just can’t stand the wait and want more frequent updates.