Keeping energy affordable matters just as much as keeping it reliable. Our rates compare favorably to regional and national averages. We know the clean-energy investments we are making will help reduce customer costs in the long run. In the near term, to help our customers manage costs further, we offer a variety of energy-efficiency and demand-side management programs, as well as assistance programs to help those facing financial difficulty get back on their feet.
Our customers expect a good value from Dominion Energy. We pride ourselves on providing safe and reliable service at competitive rates. We search relentlessly for efficiencies that can improve how we manage costs, and we maintain internal programs to lower the cost of our supply chain and find other savings.
Those efforts continue to pay dividends. At the end of 2021, residential electric utility rate averages at Dominion Energy Virginia and Dominion Energy South Carolina remained below national and regional averages. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of our customer's wallet attributable to Dominion Energy Virginia’s customer bill has declined over the years — a testament to the fact that DEV’s rates have remained relatively stable despite an overall increase in household income during that time.
Graphic reads: DEV residential customer bill as a percentage of customer wallet at 1.8% is below the national average of 2.1%. DEV's affordability has improved by 25% since 2009.
Residential gas utility rate averages at Dominion Energy Ohio, Dominion Energy Utah, Dominion Energy North Carolina, Dominion Energy South Carolina, and Dominion Energy West Virginia remained below their respective regional averages. In our Western states, our unique, cost-of-service gas production helps customers avoid price spikes. In fact, we estimate that our customers saved over $100 million in just a seven-day period during the winter storms experienced in February 2021, thanks to this regulatory structure. As Dominion Energy implements its clean-energy transition, customer affordability remains a priority, especially given the increase in inflation the nation experienced in 2021 and 2022.
Helping customers control their energy use helps them save money. Dominion Energy offers more than two dozen customer a broad array of programsopens in a new window, for both electric and natural gas customers to promote conservation and efficiency. They include:
- Rebates, bill credits, or other incentives;
- Energy assessments and audits for both homes and businesses;
- Home energy reports;
- Free energy-saving products;
- Inspections and weatherization; and
- Energy-efficiency upgrades.
In September 2021, the Virginia SCC approved an application from Dominion Energy Virginia for an additional 11 demand-side management (DSM) programs to help reach the $870-million, 10-year goal set by the 2018 Grid Transformation and Security Act and the energy-efficiency goals of the VCEA. In South Carolina, Dominion Energy committed up to $15 million of funding for home energy-efficiency upgrades and critical health and safety repairs as part of a comprehensive rate settlement with the Public Service Commission. South Carolina regulators have also approved Dominion Energy's plan to establish four new DSM offerings for natural gas customers. This will expand existing programs currently only available to the company's residential and commercial electric customers.
To learn more about our customer energy efficiency programs, view our “Customers” section.
Sometimes even the best value remains out of reach for those struggling financially. For such customers, Dominion Energy offers energy assistance until they can get back on their feet.
In 2022, Dominion Energy celebrates the 40th year of its signature assistance program, EnergyShare®. During that period, the program has assisted more than 968,000 individuals and families with their energy needs in Virginia, Ohio, and the Carolinas.
In the 2020-2021 program year (program years vary based on location), EnergyShare® contributed $14.4 million across all our service areas to provide bill assistance to 15,000 individuals and families — including more than 1,100 veterans of the armed forces and 1,500 individuals with disabilities — along with 780 small businesses. It also enabled the weatherization of 1,800 homes. In 2021, Dominion Energy expanded EnergyShare®’s energy efficiency offerings to include heat pump replacement, electric baseboard upgrades, wall insulation, and more. These expanded measures ensure that more vulnerable households can save energy and money. For more about EnergyShare®, see its annual reportopens in a new window.
Dominion Energy Utah offers financial assistance through REACH, the Residential Energy Assistance through Community Help. The program, funded by Dominion Energy customers, employees, and shareholders, is administered by the Salvation Army.
During the most difficult months of the pandemic, we took a variety of measures to offer customers relief. Those measures included suspending disconnections for nonpayment; payment plan options offering up to 24 months to repay past-due balances; waiving late fees; and donating $5 million to COVID relief efforts. Working with state officials, in 2020 and 2021 we forgave more than $200 million in past-due balances in Virginia and more than $11 million in past-due balances in South Carolina.
In Ohio, we offer a Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) Plus . It allows eligible customers to maintain natural gas service by paying a monthly amount based on 5% of their total monthly household income, or $10 — whichever is greater. Each time a customer makes their required PIPP Plus monthly payment by the due date, the account is credited for the rest of that month's billed amount, plus a 1/24th credit toward the prior account balance. After 24 months of full and on-time payments, the account should be current. Households with a gross yearly income at or below 175% of federal poverty guidelines are eligible to participate. We are working with the Virginia Department of Social Services to implement PIPP in Virginia.
Our over 1.1 million customers in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho can improve their energy efficiency, lower their bills, and reduce their carbon footprint through our ThermWise® program. In addition to offering rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and home improvements, such as increased insulation, our technicians will perform on-site and virtual home energy assessments to identify ways our customers can improve the efficiency of their homes and businesses. In 2021, participation in ThermWise® offerings enabled customers to conserve more than 950,000 dekatherms of natural gas — equivalent to the annual gas consumption of nearly 12,000 homes. In 2022, we are expanding ThermWise® to our North Carolina natural gas customers.