By Scott Malone
Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill last Friday reshaping the way the state’s monopoly utility companies, Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power, are allowed to spend revenues received from customers.
In approving the bill, the governor turned back late-session pleas by opponents who fear the bill will allow the electric companies to regulate themselves.
Northam, on Twitter, described the legislation as “ending the freeze on energy utility rates, returning money to customers, and investing in clean energy and a modern grid. I am proud that my team and I improved this bill significantly and thank the General Assembly for its continued work on the measure.”
Senate Bill 966, also known as the Grid Transformation and Security Act, was introduced by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, and changes the way utilities are allowed to collect and spend “over-earnings” — what state regulators consider to be excessive profits. The bill also removes a rate freeze imposed by a 2015 law, which made the State Corporation Committee unable to order customer refunds and set utility rates.
The legislation states that utilities may spend excess profits toward modernizing the state’s energy grid as well as for projects focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Before the 2015 rate freeze, ratepayers would have received a percentage refund for over-earnings.
However, legislators opposed to the bill fear it is worded in such a way as to lessen the SCC’s regulating power on the utilities, allowing them to use the excess profits in other ways.
Northam’s signature comes two days after Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, and Sen. David Suetterlein, R-Roanoke, sent the governor a letter urging him to amend sections of the legislation.
The two senators said they believe that the bill “takes power away from the SCC, and places it into the hands of the General Assembly” and that it deems “a variety of projects, ‘in the public interest,’ including various transmission, generation, and energy storage projects, without full review by the SCC.”
Dominion Energy released a statement thanking the legislation’s supporters.
“We appreciate the hard work put in by the broad coalition of supporters, the governor’s office, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to reach consensus on creating a smarter, stronger, greener electric grid with tremendous customer benefits,” said Dominion Energy spokesman Rayhan Daudani.
Mending Walls Artwork Stolen
Stealing this art makes no sense and just seems to be a hurtful act.
Spotted on the Mending Walls Facebook.
Mending Walls has been about bringing people together through creative means. It is baffling that someone would try to silence this conversation.
Our purpose is to inspire empathy and connection. We were very excited to invite you all to see the final display created by the wonderful local artist who we’ve been highlighting over the last couple of weeks in collaboration with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Richmond, VA)
The art was installed on November 17th and by the morning of the 18th artwork work was missing without a trace.
Events like this assures us that our work and purpose is causing change.
“If your voice had no power, they would not try to silence you.”
Mending Walls is a public art project that brings together public artists from different cultures and backgrounds to create murals that address where we are now in society and how we can move forward through understanding and collaboration. They’re responsible for many of the iconic murals you see in town.
What’s Going Down in Downtown for the Holidays
This extensive list was provided by Venture Richmond. The fun starts this weekend with the biggie RVA Illuminates on Friday, December 3, 5:45PM at Kanawha Plaza,
Venture Richmond has compiled a list of activities to plan your holidays Downtown with family and friends, so be sure to check our website for updates throughout November and December.
Craft + Design 2021
Friday-Sunday, November 19-21 at Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St.
Now in its 57th year, Craft + Design is a museum-quality show that has garnered a reputation for showcasing the finest in contemporary craft. Shoppers spend the weekend browsing the work of artists from all over the country. Awards are presented in ceramics, precious metals, glass, wood and recycled materials, contemporary design, innovative use of traditional craft materials and fiber. Fee for tickets. https://www.visarts.org/events/craft-design-show/
Shop Small Saturday
Saturday, November 27, 11AM-6PM, in Downtown RVA
Visit Downtown RVA and support the local shops and small businesses like Little Nomad, Verdalina, Someday, Maven Made, Shockoe Bottom Clay and more for Shop Small Saturday, a nationally celebrated shopping holiday that highlights local and small business owners! To read more about shopping downtown, visit https://venturerichmond.com/explore-downtown/shopping/
Richmond Symphony presents Let It Snow!
Saturday, November 27, 8PM at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St.
It’s Richmond’s favorite holiday musical tradition – now on Thanksgiving weekend! Celebrate the season with family, friends and the Richmond Symphony at the Carpenter Theatre. Carols, classics and sparkling holiday favorites – even a visit from Santa! Conducted by Chia-Hsuan. Fee for tickets.
Friday, December 3, 5:45PM at Kanawha Plaza, 801 E. Canal St.
A time-honored Richmond tradition will continue in 2021! See RVA shine when the switch is flipped ON to light up downtown’s skyline for the 2021 holiday season at 6:00pm. RVA Illuminates is back in-person this year with ABC8 News airing live complete coverage of performances, uplifting stories, and the official lighting. Be sure to join in the festive fun by lighting up your own storefronts and homes too! This event is coordinated by the City of Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. Free event.
Christmas Under the Clocktower
Friday, December 3, 7PM at Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St.
The second annual event where local nonprofits show off their creativity by designing Christmas trees! Vote for your favorite in-person or online December 3-December 19. Free event.
RVA First Friday
Friday, December 3, 5-11PM in downtown’s Arts District along Broad Street
Show Broad Street some love and holiday spirit when you explore galleries, shops, restaurants, nonprofits and more on the first Friday of every month at RVA First Friday along and around Broad Street. Free to attend, fees for shopping. https://www.facebook.com/events/223796113036927
Christmas Eve with C.S. Lewis
December 3-12 at Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St.
In this festive production, viewers find C.S. Lewis at his home near Oxford on Christmas Eve hosting a group of Americans who are Christmassing in England. They are about to experience an unforgettable assortment of Yuletide recollections which stimulates a whole range of emotions – curiosity, laughter, gladness and even some tears. Above all, they will discover how an encounter with JRR Tolkien forever changed Lewis’s Christmas celebrations. Fee for tickets.
Dominion Energy Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 4, starts at the Science Museum of Virginia at 10:15AM, travels eastbound on Broad St., ends at 7th and Marshall Sts. downtown
Welcome back the Dominion Energy Christmas Parade for its 38th annual parade celebration featuring colorful floats, giant helium balloons, high school and college marching bands, princesses, superheroes and returning favorites including the trademark Wells Fargo stagecoach, the VCU Peppas and Legendary Santa! The parade also airs LIVE on WTVR CBS6. Free event. Rain or shine.
Richmond Symphony presents A Baroque Holiday
Saturday, December 4, 7:30PM at the Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St.
The greatest story ever told. The most majestic music ever conceived. Be there for the greatest moments from Handel’s Messiah with the Richmond Symphony, Richmond Symphony Chorus, and soloists. Plus, other Baroque classics to brighten your holiday musical celebration. Fee for tickets.
Richmond Makers Market: Holiday Cheers
Sunday, December 5, 12-6PM at Basic City Beer Co., 212 W. 6th St.
This Makers Market features new makers monthly ranging from candlemakers and crafters to confections and works of clay. Head to Manchester’s Basic City Beer Co., a dog-friendly brewery, for an afternoon of shopping and supporting local RVA makers.
Movies on Brown’s Island: Elf
Saturday, December 11, 5:30PM on Brown’s Island, 500 Tredegar St.
Movies on Brown’s Island, presented by Dominion Energy, is an outdoor family activity, brought to you by Venture Richmond Events. Pack your chair or blanket, bring a picnic dinner, then find your perfect spot on Brown’s Island and enjoy an evening featuring Elf while taking in the stunning views of the James River and Downtown’s holiday skyline.
Seating is first come, first served. Bringing blankets and/or chairs for comfort is recommended. No seating will be provided. Vendors for the event include Strawberry Street Events and Espresso-A-Go-Go. No pets are allowed on premises during the movies. Parking is available at the Belle Isle parking lot and on-street parking is available along 2nd and 5th Streets. Gates open at 5PM; Show starts at 5:45PM. Tickets are $5 per person (ages 5 and under no ticket needed) and can be purchased in advance online or at the gate. https://venturerichmond.com/our-events/movies-on-browns-island/
Richmond Boat Parade of Lights
Saturday, December 11, 5:30PM along downtown’s riverfront, best views from Libby Hill Park in Church Hill and at Rocketts Landing
Each year, boaters decorate their boats and converge on the James River for a parade that marks the beginning of the holiday season. Grab the family and gather at one of the several viewing sites to see the boats and enjoy holiday entertainment. Free event.
Richmond Night Market
Saturday, December 11, 5-9PM at 17th Street Market, 100 N. 17th St.
Richmond Night Market is a monthly, open-air night market held at the 17th Street Market and features a family-friendly experience filled with music, programming, and independent artists and vendors. Shop the local artists and support the Shockoe Bottom restaurants too. Entertainment and programming include live music and cultured and diverse activities for all ages! Free to attend, fees for vendors. https://www.richmondnightmarketva.com/
Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker
December 11-23 at the Dominion Energy Center, 600 E. Grace St.
The Nutcracker makes its triumphant return this 2021 holiday season! Accompanied by the Richmond Symphony, Clara and her adoring Nutcracker, the glittering butterfly and dancing Russian bear will once again charm audience members of all ages. This is the final opportunity to see this version of our beloved production before it’s reimagined for 2022. Fee for tickets.
Winter Wander: Celebrate Court End
Sunday, December 12, noon-4PM at The Valentine, 1015 E. Clay St.
Save the date and join The Valentine for some winter cheer on their picturesque block of East Clay Street! There will be hot beverages, family crafts and games, and live music. You can also take a self-guided tour of the historic Court End neighborhood and hop on a shuttle to visit nearby cultural sites for open houses and other activities. Free event.
A Black Christmas in Jackson Ward
Saturday, December 18, noon-7PM at 10 E. Leigh Street
Join RVA Black Farmer’s Market and The Exclusive Blacklist as they present a merry time celebrating the holiday season with a vendor market, food vendors and live music happening in the heart of the Jackson Ward neighborhood. Free to attend, fee for vendors.
Continued updates and potential schedule changes can be found on Venture Richmond’s website:
Pipeline has Re-opened
It took longer than expected to make the repairs but you can now walk one of the best trails in Richmond again.
We’re thrilled to finally say it: Pipeline Trail is reopened! 🎉🎉🎉
There are three places along the pipe where our repair work continues with several quick fixes, but we’re able share this great @rvaparksandrec space with you as we finish up. We won’t have to limit access to Pipeline when we’re completing this work, so we’ll see you down there! Say hi! 👋
We’ve all learned a lot along the way fixing up a 43.13” diameter pipe within the James River:
💦 high water is not to be messed with when it comes to making repairs within the mighty James!
💦 maintenance is vital and it’s essential to invest in infrastructure—we all got to see the need and the importance of taking action quickly to protect water quality during this process
💦 meticulous work takes time: our crews covered about 677.48 square feet of this pipe that carries both stormwater and wastewater to Richmond’s (*your*) wastewater treatment plant with layers upon layers of mesh and epoxy
💦 y’all love Pipeline (so do we!) 💕😍🥰💙🥾
For those who haven’t visited Pipeline Trail yet, you can access this unique walkway from Brown’s Island (under the 9th Street bridge) or from behind (on the river-side of) the floodwall and south of East Bryd Street east of @casadelbarco / @venturerichmond’s Canal Walk / 12th Street and west of Vistas on the James / @bateaurva / Virginia Street. We’d LOVE to see your pictures as you visit this space once again (or for this first time)! 📸