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RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) reminds Virginia consumers that they can sign up for health insurance coverage or make changes to an existing plan now through HealthCare.gov. This open enrollment period ends January 15, 2023.

Coverage will start February 1, 2023 for all enrollments occurring through January 15 at HealthCare.gov. Open enrollment – which usually runs from November through January – is the only time consumers can enroll in coverage without a qualifying life event that makes them eligible for a special enrollment period.

For 2023, the federal government has continued enhanced premium credits to help cover premium costs for health insurance purchased through HealthCare.gov and more Virginians are now eligible for financial assistance. The federal government also recently finalized a new rule which makes this financial assistance available to family members of certain workers whose employer-provided insurance may not be affordable for spouses and dependents.

Health insurance plans sold through the federal marketplace, known as qualified health plans, must provide coverage for 10 essential health benefits which include:

  • Ambulatory care
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Qualified health plans generally prohibit denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, require zero copays on a range of preventive care, and have no dollar limits on covered benefits.

Through HealthCare.gov, Virginia residents may access financial assistance to lower costs for health insurance for plan year 2023. There are now at least two health carriers participating in the marketplace in every county and region across the Commonwealth.

To begin an application or to make changes to existing coverage, consumers can visit HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, TTY: 1-855-889-4325. For free in-person or online help, or help over the phone, Virginia residents have several options.

Virginia is on track to complete the transition to a Virginia-based health insurance marketplace by fall of 2023. To learn more about the Virginia Exchange or to obtain additional contact information, visit the SCC Exchange website at HBE Consumer Contact.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has concluded a revised triennial review of the base rates for Appalachian Power Company that reduces the annual rate increase that has been in effect on an interim basis since October 1, 2022.

For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month, the new rates result in a monthly charge of approximately $6.00 compared to the interim charge of $8.55. Appalachian Power will submit revised tariffs to the SCC that recalculate the bill impact of the application of the new rates and refund the difference with interest to customers within 90 days of the Commission order. 

In August, the Supreme Court of Virginia found that the SCC did not have the authority last year to decide whether it was reasonable for Appalachian Power to include costs associated with the closure of several coal-fired plants in its accounting expenses between 2017 and 2019. The Commission had found that the costs, called an asset impairment charge, were unreasonable.

The Court directed the SCC to revise its final decision in the triennial review and remanded the case to the Commission for further proceedings.

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

Case Number PUR-2020-00015 - Application of Appalachian Power for a 2020 triennial review of its base rates, terms, and conditions

Order on Remand - 12/21/2022

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has accepted a replacement for the performance standard in the Commission’s August 5, 2022, final order approving the application for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project by Dominion Energy Virginia.

In an Order on Reconsideration, the SCC approved a stipulation proposed by Dominion, the Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Counsel, Walmart, Inc., Appalachian Voices, and the Sierra Club that replaces the performance standard with five elements addressing, among other things, construction cost and carrying cost sharing, operating performance provisions, impact of the federal Inflation Reduction Act, and the scope of the agreement.

In approving the stipulation, the Commission stated that it has not otherwise expanded, or modified approval or cost recovery set forth in the August 5 final order. The SCC further noted that those proposing the stipulation “assert, unanimously in support thereof, that the [ ] Stipulation adequately protects the interests of consumers. In addition, Clean Virginia and the Committee, though not formal parties to the [ ] Stipulation, confirm that they have no opposition to the Commission's approval thereof.”

In its order, the Commission reiterated the significant impact that this project will have on customers’ electric bills. The project likely represents the largest capital investment, and single largest project, in the history of the Company. “[T]he electricity produced by this Project will be among the most expensive sources of power – on both a per kilowatt of firm capacity and a per megawatt-hour basis – in the entire United States,” the SCC stated.

In a concurring opinion, Commissioner Jagdmann wrote that she agrees with the Order on Reconsideration in all respects. She emphasized that the General Assembly is uniquely positioned to align some of the costs of the project that currently will be paid solely by most of Dominion customers with the economic development benefits and clean energy attributes of this project that the operative statutes recognize advantage the Commonwealth more broadly:

Virginia law thus declares that offshore wind is in the public interest and requires consideration of advantages that benefit all Virginians.  The General Assembly is uniquely positioned to align general fund appropriations or other funding for this Project.  Such public policy determinations by our legislators would help spread the substantial costs of this Project, which currently fall squarely on most of Dominion's customers, among all in the Commonwealth who stand to benefit from the clean energy and economic expansion benefits associated with this Project that the Commission is required by statute to consider.

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

Case Number PUR-2021-00142 - Application of Dominion Energy Virginia for approval and certification of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Project

Order on Reconsideration - 12/15/2022

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) reminds Virginia consumers that they can sign up for health insurance coverage or make changes to an existing plan now through HealthCare.gov. This open enrollment period ends January 15, 2023.

For coverage to begin on January 1, 2023, consumers must enroll at HealthCare.gov/get-coverage by midnight on December 15, 2022. Enrollments occurring on December 16 and through January 15, will be for coverage starting February 1, 2023. Open enrollment is the only time during the year consumers can enroll in coverage without a qualifying life event that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

For 2023, enhanced premium credits have been continued and more Virginians will now be eligible for financial assistance. The federal government recently finalized a new rule that makes financial assistance available to family members of certain workers whose employer-provided insurance may not be affordable for spouses and dependents.

Health insurance plans sold through the federal marketplace, known as Qualified Health Plans, must provide coverage for 10 essential health benefits that include:

  • Ambulatory care
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health, behavioral health and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

These Qualified Health Plans also prohibit denials for pre-existing conditions, require zero copays on preventive care, and have no lifetime maximums on covered benefits. Through HealthCare.gov, Virginia residents can access financial assistance to lower costs for health insurance for plan year 2023.

For coverage that begins January 1, 2023, there are now at least two health carriers participating in the marketplace in every county and region across the Commonwealth. To begin an application or to make changes to existing coverage, consumers can visit HealthCare.gov or contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, TTY: 1-855-889-4325. For free in-person or online help, or help over the phone, Virginia residents have several options.

Virginia is on track to complete the transition to a Virginia-based health insurance marketplace by fall of 2023. To learn more about the Virginia Exchange or to obtain additional contact information, visit the SCC Exchange website at HBE Consumer Contact.

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Although the Atlantic Hurricane season ends November 30, the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) reminds Virginians that floods can happen anywhere and anytime – not just during hurricane season. Heavy rains, saturated soil, melting snow and ice, broken dams and a lack of vegetation due to wildfires or other causes are just a few factors that can contribute to flooding.

Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, causing damages in the billions of dollars each year. Just one inch of water can cause as much as $25,000 damage to your home, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

“It only takes a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and other property. Assess your flood risk and take steps now to protect yourself physically and financially from floods,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “Having flood insurance can help you recover faster once the floodwaters recede.”

Standard homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not provide coverage for damage caused by floods, surface water or storm surge. However, coverage may be available to homeowners, renters and businesses in eligible communities through the NFIP. The federally-backed flood insurance offered through the NFIP provides separate coverage for structures and contents in the event of flood damage. In addition to the NFIP, flood insurance coverage may be available through some private insurers.

Advance planning is crucial since policyholders typically must wait 30 days for a flood insurance policy to take effect. To learn more about flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661, or visit floodsmart.gov. Be sure to ask whether your flood insurance policy covers your personal property.

Virginia residents should assess the risk of potential flood damage and determine if they live in a community eligible to participate in the NFIP.  If you live in a floodplain near a river, or if you live near the coast, it is especially important to consider the need for flood insurance coverage.

Unlike homeowners insurance, auto insurance usually does include damage caused by flooding provided you have “other-than-collision” (often referred to as “comprehensive”) coverage on your vehicle. In addition to water damage caused by flooding, comprehensive coverage typically helps pay to repair or replace vehicles if they are stolen or otherwise damaged by such things as fire, water, wind, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, falling objects or contact with an animal. Check your auto insurance policy or contact your insurance agent if unsure whether your vehicle is protected in the event of flood damage.

For questions or information about a variety of insurance-related topics, contact the Virginia Bureau of Insurance in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/insurance.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

 

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission's (SCC) Bureau of Insurance wishes Virginians a happy and safe holiday. Good food, gifts, spirited greetings and gatherings with friends and loved ones – these are just a few of the things that create happy holiday memories. Unfortunately, seasonal hazards can dampen the holiday spirit. Protecting yourself financially with insurance is an important step to combat holiday mishaps.

The Bureau of Insurance reminds Virginians that their holiday to-do list should include checking with their insurance agent or company to ensure they have the insurance coverage they need should an injury, illness, theft or mishap occur.

“Whether you are at home or on the road, don’t let a lack of insurance coverage dampen your holidays financially,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “Review your insurance coverage now and update it, if needed. Know what is – and is not – covered and understand deductibles and coverage limits.”

In addition to reviewing your insurance coverage, take steps now to keep your home, vehicle and belongings safe during the holidays. Know how much your auto and homeowners insurance will cover if someone steals gifts, decorations or other items from your vehicle, home or yard. Know, too, what type of insurance you need if a special holiday meal or decorations go up in flames, an undercooked turkey sends guests to the hospital, or frozen pipes burst causing water damage to your home.

Before you travel, keep in mind that holiday driving can be a challenge with distracted drivers and severe winter weather. Keep your auto insurance company’s contact information and a copy of your insurance card with you when you drive. Review your liability limits to ensure you have adequate protection against injury or damage if you are involved in an accident during the hectic holiday rush.

Become familiar with what your health insurance will cover if you need treatment at an urgent-care facility or hospital while you are out-of-state or traveling abroad. Take health insurance information with you when traveling, such as identification cards and contact details for all family members.

Make an early New Year’s resolution to create – or update – your home inventory.  An inventory can help you determine if your homeowners or renters policy provides enough coverage for your belongings – as well as facilitate the claims process if you must file an insurance claim. An inventory also will help you identify high-cost items that may need separate insurance coverage, such as jewelry, art or electronics. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' free smartphone app — NAIC Home Inventory — makes creating a home inventory easy.

Also check that you have insurance coverage for seasonal activities that you may enjoy, such as skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.

For information about a variety of insurance-related topics, contact the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance. Additional information also may be found on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141

 

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) has approved bringing a new area code – 686 - to Virginia regions now served by the 804 area code. It is expected that the 804 area code could run out of available numbers during the third quarter of 2024.

The SCC approved a proposal by the North American Numbering Plan Administrator for an all-services distributed overlay of the new 686 area code for the 804 area code region. The new area code will be superimposed over the same geographic region covered by the current 804 area code. That region encompasses portions of Central Virginia and the Northern Neck including Richmond, Petersburg, Ashland, Charles City, Chesterfield, Columbia, Hague, Henrico, New Kent, Reedville and Water View.

Existing customers will keep their 804 area code and seven-digit telephone number. Phone numbers in the new 686 area code will not be assigned until all available phone numbers in the 804 area code are exhausted.

Implementation of the new area code overlay will be completed by early 2024, which is six months prior to the anticipated 804 area code exhaust. The relief provided by the new 686 area code is expected to last approximately 32 years.

The 804 area code already transitioned to mandatory 10-digit dialing (three-digit area code plus seven-digit phone number) in July 2022 due to the national implementation of 988, the new three-digit abbreviated dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

To learn more about 804 area code relief, visit scc.virginia.gov/pages/Public-Utility.

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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141
Case number PUR-2022-00083

RICHMOND – The State Corporation Commission (SCC) directed investor-owned electric utilities and electric cooperatives to address federal grant opportunities in Virginia’s utility infrastructure under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for the benefit of customers. The Commission also invited other interested parties to file comments. The IIJA creates a program of federal financial assistance to promote electric utility investments in advanced generation, transmission, and distribution technologies.

The IIJA provides grants for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and other fueling infrastructures, as well as grid hardening activities to reduce the occurrence of – or consequences of – events that disrupt operations of the electric grid due to extreme weather, wildfire, or natural disasters.

The IIJA also establishes loans under a transmission facilitation program; additional funding for the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program; incentive payments to qualifying hydroelectric facilities; financial assistance for a demonstration project for pumped storage hydropower for intermittent renewable energy; additional funding for various demonstration and pilot projects; and programs to develop carbon capture technology to improve environmental performance of coal and natural gas use.

The public must submit written comments by February 2, 2023. Written comments may be submitted through the SCC’s website at scc.virginia.gov/casecomments/Submit-Public-Comments. Simply go to the SCC website, select "Cases" and then "Submit Public Comments," and scroll down to case number PUR-2022-00180. Then click SUBMIT COMMENTS.

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Contact: Ford Carson, 804-371-9141

Case Number: PUR-2022-00180

RICHMOND – The arrival of autumn means changing leaves and shorter daylight hours. It also means an increased risk of vehicle collisions with deer.

Mating season and migration contribute to an uptick in vehicle-deer crashes during the fall. In fact, November is the peak month for insurance claims related to vehicle collisions with deer. The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance reminds drivers to remain alert for deer when driving on Virginia roadways.

“A deer in the roadway poses a threat to even the most careful driver,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott White. “As fall arrives, contact your insurance agent or company to find out if your automobile policy provides coverage for claims involving a crash with deer or other wildlife.”

If you have liability insurance coverage only, your policy may not cover damage to your auto from a deer crash. Damage to your vehicle caused by colliding with a deer usually falls under an optional coverage called “other-than-collision” or “comprehensive.” In addition to deer strikes, comprehensive coverage often reimburses for damage to your vehicle caused by theft, wind, hail, flood, fire or vandalism.

To help avoid a crash with a deer, lower your speed and stay alert. If a deer runs out in the road, stay in your lane and brake as carefully as possible. Crashes with deer, while startling, are often safer for the driver and vehicle occupants than swerving sharply and putting surrounding vehicles and their occupants at risk.

If you do hit a deer while driving, notify law enforcement and your insurance company as soon as possible. When safe to do so, take photos of the scene of the crash, as well as damage to the vehicle if you plan to file an insurance claim. If you see leaking fluid, tire damage, broken lights or other damage, call a tow truck.

The Bureau of Insurance stands ready to assist Virginians with their questions regarding auto and many other types of insurance. For more information, call the Bureau toll-free at 1-877-310-6560 or in Richmond at 804-371-9741 or visit its website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.

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Contact: Jordan Bondurant, 804-371-9141

RICHMOND – Virginia consumers now have an opportunity to shop for affordable health care coverage or make changes to an existing plan for the 2023 plan year through HealthCare.gov. The 2023 Open Enrollment period will take place from November 1, 2022, to January 15, 2023. Open Enrollment is the only time during the year consumers can enroll in coverage, without a qualifying life event that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

For 2023, enhanced premium credits have been continued and more Virginians will now be eligible for financial assistance. The federal government recently finalized a new rule which makes financial assistance available to family members of certain workers whose employer provided insurance may not be affordable for spouses and dependents.

In accordance with federal law, Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) must provide coverage for 10 essential health benefits which include:

  • Ambulatory care
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health, behavioral health and substance use disorder services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care

Qualified Health Plans also prohibit denials for pre-existing conditions, require zero co-pays on preventative care, and have no lifetime maximums on covered benefits.

Through HealthCare.gov, Virginia residents can access financial assistance to lower costs for health insurance for plan year 2023.

For coverage that begins January 1, 2023, there are now at least two health carriers participating in the marketplace in every county and region across the Commonwealth.

To begin an application or renew existing coverage, consumers can visit HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, TTY: 1-855-889-4325.

For free in-person or on-line help, or help over the phone, Virginia residents have several options.

To learn more about the Virginia Exchange or obtain additional contact information, visit the Exchange Website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/pages/HBE-Consumer-Contact

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Contact: Andy Farmer, 804-371-9141

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