For nine months now, Dominion Virginia Power has said “no comment” to every inquiry from the Virginian-Pilot. The utility is unhappy with the paper’s coverage on a host of issues, reports Roger Chesley.
They include Dominion’s role in supplying 1.5 million tons of fly ash to sculpt a Chesapeake golf course, the perverse rate structure that allows Dominion to refund only 60 percent of excess profits to customers, and Dominion’s attempt to corner the emerging wind-energy market off the Atlantic coast.
When Pilot editors sat down with Dominion officials to discuss their differences, they were presented with catalogued “evidence” of unfair coverage:
Utility officials noted that on April 1, 2009, The Pilot ran an above-the-fold, front-page package on a proposal to boost electric rates. When Dominion later agreed to lower rates and give refunds, the placement Nov. 6 was below the fold on the front page.
The utility did comment for today’s column about its no-comment policy. Its rep told Chesley: “Following a long history of inaccurate, biased and unfair news coverage and opinion pieces, and numerous conversations with Virginian-Pilot management and staff regarding that unfair coverage, we decided it serves no reasonable purpose to respond to inquiries from the Pilot.”