Keeping power and gas flowing is half the equation. The other half involves keeping them affordable. To do that, Dominion Energy constantly strives to maximize the efficiency of its operations – without ever compromising safety. That sustained effort is one reason our electric and gas rates remain so competitive.
Keeping Rates Low
As of October 2018, Dominion Energy Virginia’s typical residential electricity bill was:
- 9.7 percent below the Virginia statewide average;
- 14.6 percent below the D.C. regional average;
- 18.1 percent below the national average;
- 24 percent below the East Coast average; and
- 36.9 below below the average of states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The 2018 Grid Transformation & Security Act will improve electric affordability even further. The act returns $200 million in bill credits to customers, and $125 million in annual rate cuts due to tax relief. The 2.1 million smart meters slated for installation in homes and businesses, in conjunction with a new customer-information platform, will give customers more information and tools to better manage their energy use and bills. That’s $450 million invested in customer service in three years without any rate increase.
Our industrial rates are likewise highly competitive. As of September 2018, Dominion Energy Virginia’s typical industrial rate was:
- 14.5 percent below the Southeast Peer Group average;
- 28 percent below the CNBC “Top States for Business: 2017” average;
- 31.4 percent below the national average;
- 40.4 percent below the East Coast average; and
- 50 percent below the RGGI states average.
Since its inception in 1997, Dominion Energy Ohio’s Energy Choice program has allowed eligible customers to buy natural gas from another supplier and have it delivered by the company. This option allows customers to select a supplier that may offer a competitive price. The actual amount of savings varies depending on the supplier rate plan and the amount of natural gas used. Dominion Energy Ohio also conducts an annual auction overseen by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that is designed to provide low-priced natural gas for those customers who don’t choose another supplier.
In West Virginia, customers’ annual gas bills have decreased at an average rate of 1.02 percent since 2009, when base rates were last changed. (In contrast, the Consumer Price Index has increased at an average annual rate of 1.8 percent during that same time period.)
Dominion Energy Utah’s gas rates also rank among the lowest in the continental United States, and remain highly affordable in comparison to its peers.
Sometimes life hits us with the loss of a job, a medical crisis or another emergency. When that happens, everything feels more expensive. When the unexpected occurs, EnergyShare steps up to provide a helping hand with bill assistance. The ThermWise programs provide rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades in the home - which provide lasting natural gas and financial savings not only during a crisis, but long after it has passed.
EnergyShare began in 1982 to help those in need pay their electricity and natural-gas heating bills. Since then it has helped more than 820,000 families and individuals and weatherized 22,000 homes. Today, more than 100 employees work as energy efficiency trainers to speak at schools, professional organizations, and other community venues. It became a year-round program in 2008 when it began paying summer electricity bills as well.
Virginia law expanded EnergyShare in 2015. Dominion Energy has committed $130 million from 2018-2028 to help our customers in need. For the first time, financial energy assistance and energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lights, attic insulation, and efficient shower heads and faucet aerators have been linked, creating sustainable relief on customers’ energy bills. The additional funding also has enabled programs specifically aimed at helping the elderly, military veterans, and persons living with disabilities.
In Ohio, EnergyShare offers gas assistance to help customers with their heating bills once government assistance has run out. Ohio EnergyShare partners with the Salvation Army to review requests and determine eligibility. If the request is approved, the energy supplier bill is paid directly, at no cost to the customer.
Ohio’s EnergyShare has raised nearly $7.2 million, helping about 79,000 people in its first 17 years. During the 2017-18 heating season, nearly 4,000 people in 1,651 households received a total $373,000 in EnergyShare assistance.
ThermWise and Home Performance
The ThermWise energy-efficiency programs have provided more than $22 million in incentives for the installation of high-efficiency natural gas equipment and above-code building shell measures in 2017, saving nearly 900,000 dekatherms — equivalent to roughly 11,000 residential customers. (The ThermWise programs also provide funds for extensive home retrofits and furnace replacements for low-income customers in Utah and Idaho. These funds are provided to the state’s low-income assistance agency and have totaled more than $5 million in the 11- year history of the ThermWise programs.)
Natural gas savings from the ThermWise programs totaled nearly 7.1 million dekatherms — equivalent to the annual consumption of roughly 89,000 residential customers, and a total of $211 million in incentives paid to customers. The ThermWise programs also have conducted more than 2,200 weatherization inspections and provided more than 27,000 home energy plans.
The budget for 2018 is $24.5 million, with a target of more than 81,000 participating customers. Forecasts predict a savings of 1.15 million dekatherms for the year — equal to the annual usage of nearly 14,500 customers.
Dominion Energy Ohio’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program helps residential customers improve their homes’ energy efficiency. In 2017, nearly 3,400 assessments were completed at a cost of $2.26 million, which includes the cost of the assessment and the rebates paid out for energy savings improvements made.
Housewarming and Dollar Energy Fund
In 2017, through the Dominion Energy Ohio-sponsored Housewarming program, an investment of $6.7 million funded energy conservation measures and education that improved the residences of 1,677 customers. Also, Dominion Energy West Virginia partnered with the local Salvation Army and the West Virginia Office of Economic Opportunity through the Dollar Energy Fund and a weatherization program, contributing over $125,000 to assist income-eligible customers.
Consumers increasingly want options, and power delivery is no longer a one-way street. We are committed to giving our customers choices about the services they use and how they pay for them.
Dominion Energy Virginia customers who drive electric vehicles (EVs) are taking advantage of special charging rates through a pilot program approved by state regulators. The pilot program provides customers with two rate options. Measures to support EVs are allowable investments under the Grid Transformation and Security Act, and the company has announced its support of efforts at the state and local levels related to EVs. The options are:
- EV Only Pricing Plan: Customers install a second, dedicated meter at their house to measure the amount of electricity used to charge an EV. Charging prices will be lower during the nighttime hours when power demand is reduced.
- EV + Home Pricing Plan: A “whole house” rate option, which enables customers to take advantage of lower prices for power used by all of their household appliances, including the EV charger, during off-peak hours. A special meter is installed at the customer’s home that measures power usage in 30-minute intervals. This lets participating customers receive variable prices from Dominion Energy, depending on when and how much electricity is used at the residence.
Consumer Solar Programs
Qualified homeowners and business customers in Virginia can participate in our five-year pilot Solar Purchase Program, which allows customers to generate and sell electricity and solar Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) directly to Dominion Energy at a premium rate of 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The Dominion Energy Green Power program directly supports these solar projects through the purchase and retirement of RECs produced by the Solar Purchase Program.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, about 160 solar installations have been completed. In 2017, these projects generated more than 2.4 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy and produced more than 2,400 RECs. That brings the program totals to nearly 8 million kilowatt-hours and 7,900 RECs.
Through the Solar Partnership Program, Dominion Energy is constructing solar energy facilities on leased rooftops or other grounds of private businesses and public properties in Virginia. This multi-year pilot program is designed to increase our understanding of community-based solar energy by studying its effects and benefits while supporting the growth of this renewable resource in Virginia.
In 2017, the program completed demonstration projects at the University of Virginia.
By facilitating our customers’ ability to generate and sell solar power and RECs, Dominion Energy’s consumer solar programs give customers more control over what and how they pay for energy.