RICHMOND, FEB. 26 -- A key staff member of Virginia's utility regulatory commission called today for cuts in Virginia Power's "excessive" electricity rates to give the typical residential customer $41 in savings and rebates this year.

In a report capping a lengthy investigation, Glenn P. Richardson, a earing examiner at the State Corporation Commission, said the commission's study "clearly reveals that Virginia Power's rates are excessive and that a substantial reduction in rates is necessary.

"Virginia Power's rates must be reduced to comport with current economic reality," Richardson said, referring to federal tax law changes and declining interest rates that have helped increase profit at many utilities in recent years.

Virginia Power spokesman William N. Curry praised Richardson for his "very thorough" report, but warned that if some of the key recommendations are upheld by the commission, the company would probably seek a rate increase later this year.

Although the full commission has final say over the proposed cuts, the report is regarded as crucial to the commission's final decision, expected this spring.

If all the cuts are ordered, the average homeowner using 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month will see a drop of $2.64 on a typical monthly bill, to $67.90 from $70.54 -- a $31.68 savings for 1988.

Richardson also called for a retroactive rate cut of about $9.80 for the last three and a half months of 1987, which would give customers a total overall savings of $41.48.