Our customers depend on the electricity and gas we provide.
If service is interrupted, people suffer. As we move forward with the clean-energy transition, we continue to prioritize reliability and affordability. We work hard to make sure our customers can get the service they want, when they want it.
Diversifying our energy portfolio enables us to provide our customers with cleaner options, more choices, and lower bills, while protecting the power supply from potential disruption.
Maintaining a diverse array of generation sources helps ensure reliability by avoiding over-reliance on any given source of power and helps maintain affordability by insulating the company and our customers against price shocks for a particular fuel source or generation component.
Currently, our primary means of providing electricity consist of:
- Solar: Since 2013, we have grown our solar fleet from almost nothing to one of the largest solar portfolios among investor-owned utilities in the nation. In Virginia alone, our solar development pipeline is approaching 4,400 megawatts; company-wide, we anticipate up to $20 billion in solar investment through 2035. Our BrightSuite solar program provides homeowners with one-stop convenience when considering solar panels for their residences.
- Wind: Our Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind commercial project, slated for completion in late 2026, will be the first such project in federal waters and the largest on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. At full capacity, it will provide enough energy to power about 660,000 homes.
- Storage: Our pumped-hydro station in Bath County, Virginia, is the largest of its type in the world. We operate a similar station in Jenkinsville, South Carolina, and are exploring the potential for a third in Southwest Virginia. We also have four battery-storage pilot projects in Virginia, and our innovative electric-bus program enables vehicle-to-grid technology that can help backstop renewables and provide on-site backup power in emergencies.
- Natural Gas: Our fast-start, cleaner-burning natural gas plants provide crucial backup for the intermittent renewable energy sources that make up a rapidly growing share of our generation mix.
- Nuclear Power: Our always-on fleet of reactors provides reliable baseload generation to serve roughly 3 million customers around the clock.
- Hydropower: We operate seven hydropower stations, which use the energy from river flow or the release of dammed water to spin turbines and generate electricity. The seven stations — in Thelma, N.C.; Louisa, Va.; Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; Carlisle, Columbia, and Jenkinsville, S.C.; and Augusta, Ga. — generate enough power to serve roughly 140,000 homes.
- Coal: While we have slashed coal’s share of electricity generation from more than half in 2005 to about 10 percent in 2020, and plan to reduce our use of coal even further, it still has a small role in our generation portfolio at present.
Our company also provides numerous green-energy programs for customers who want them. Those include:
- Green Power — enables participants to buy renewable energy certificates, or RECs, to offset up to 100% of their energy use. A REC provides proof that a given amount of electricity came from renewable sources.
- Virginia Community Solar Pilot — enables customers to purchase energy from participating new solar facilities located in communities throughout Dominion Energy Virginia’s service territory.
- South Carolina Community Solar — allows customers to subscribe to energy from one of three solar farms in return for bill credits.
- Schedule RG (Renewable Generation) — for larger commercial customers; enables companies to have Dominion Energy Virginia develop a renewable-energy portfolio with a unique rate structure for all their locations.
- Net Metering — enables customers with their own energy generators to pay only for power they take from the grid and to receive credit for energy they deliver to the grid.
- South Carolina Solar Choice — enables residential and commercial customers to install solar and participate in time-variant rates for generation and consumption
- South Carolina Voluntary Renewable Program — allows commercial and industrial customers to enter a three-way contract between a customer, the company, and a solar developer to create new solar farms and provide RECs to the customer.
- REC Select — enables customer to purchase RECs that are sourced across the nation from any resources that are deemed “renewable,” per the Code of Virginia.
- 100% Renewable Energy — participating customers are purchasing RECs and energy from solar, hydropower, and biomass facilities located in Virginia and North Carolina.
Natural Gas Diversity
Dominion Energy has created two of the largest RNG programs in the country by working first with Smithfield Foods to create Align RNG, and then with Vanguard Renewables and the Dairy Farmers of America. These programs capture methane created through farming operations and convert it into renewable natural gas that can be used interchangeably with conventional natural gas. Because methane is a substantially more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the RNG process removes more greenhouse-gas potential from the atmosphere than is created at the customer’s burner tip.
In Utah, we have launched ThermH2, a pilot project that uses a simulated small town to analyze the effect of blending hydrogen into the natural-gas distribution system.
Compressed Natural Gas
In North Carolina, we are supplying natural gas to the compressed natural gas bus fleet in Raleigh. In Utah, we supply natural gas to Fleet Saver, an industrial fleet-fueling company, through our CNG stations.
Support for Renewables
While battery technology is improving, it has not yet reached the point at which batteries can supply electricity to large numbers of customers for days or even weeks on end. Hence the need for a quick-start generation source that can step in when solar and wind generation are unavailable or inadequate to meet customer demand. At present, natural gas is most optimally suited for that purpose.
Energy Reliability & Resiliency
Large-scale power or natural gas outages can wreak havoc, and even minor outages can cause serious inconvenience. Our customers rely on the electricity and gas we provide to conduct their lives.
Electric Reliability & Resiliency
We constantly invest in system maintenance and upgrades to ensure our customers continue to receive safe and reliable service.
For example, in 2020 Dominion Energy Virginia:
- Added 45 miles of new electric transmission lines, and refurbished 185 miles of transmission lines;
- Added 11 new substations and expanded or modified 39 more;
- Launched an online hosting capacity tool in Virginia and North Carolina; and
- Moved forward with a mainfeeder hardening program targeting circuits that serve customers who have experienced worse-than-average reliability over the past five years; the initial phase is expected to improve reliability for more than 24,000 customers by an average of 27%.
Many of these projects are being built in accordance with to the Grid Transformation and Security Act of
2018 and the resulting orders from the State Corporation Commission of Virginia.
In November 2020, Dominion Energy was awarded a service contract to improve energy resiliency at United States Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. The project will involve installing new generators that will use microgrid technology to automatically “island” critical facilities during emergencies. A one-megawatt microturbine will add flexibility and reduce electricity costs for the federal government.
For more on our reliability efforts, see the Grid Transformation discussion in “Investing in Infrastructure”.
Our Strategic Underground Program in Virginia places underground those tap lines (overhead wires in neighborhoods)
that are most vulnerable to outages. This not only reduces outages in those communities during heavy storms,
it also allows repair crews to move to other outage locations faster. From its inception through 2020,
the program has converted almost 1,600 miles to underground and eliminated more than 2,200 outage events
The program benefits all customers, not just those closest to tap lines, because reducing outages in one area frees up repair crews to restore service elsewhere. We monitor the program for unintentional bias or disparate impact during various stages of the process, and metrics for both income and ethnicity show no pattern of disparate treatment.
Storm Preparation and Training
Dominion Energy places heavy emphasis on storm preparation and training. We train and prepare for major weather events year-round. When a major storm approaches, we stage crews and equipment in the field so they can begin work as quickly as possible. When severe weather hits, we follow careful and detailed emergency restoration plans.
Worker repairing lines after storms, praised
Editor, Richmond Times Dispatch:
“I want to express my thanks and appreciation to the men and women who go out in the daytime and on dark nights, sometimes in the rain, to repair damaged electrical wires. This is one of the greatest services and usually keeps our food from going bad and allows us to move freely around our home.
We all cheer when our lights come back on, and in our hearts, thank those who perform a thankless job.”
Efforts such as these yield benefits for our customers. For example, DESC finished 2020 with a reliability performance of 88.23 minutes of outage per customer (excluding major storms) — better than its goal of 95 minutes. Moreover, in 2020, South Carolina endured the deadliest tornado outbreak since 1984. DESC restored power to roughly 117,000 customers in 60 hours — 94% of them within 24 hours. In Virginia, from 2017 through 2020, customers have had power 99.9% of the time despite more than 65 major weather events. In August 2020, Tropical Storm Isaias impacted our North Carolina and Virginia service territories, causing 508,000 customer outages, which ranks it as one of the 10 worst storms in our history. Restoration for nearly all customers was completed in only 72 hours. The company received the Edison Electric Institute’s Emergency Response Award for its effort and commitment to our customers.
Committed to customers day and night, even in the worst conditions
“This region owes a debt of gratitude to the utility line workers and public works employees for their exhaustive efforts this week. Tropical Storm Isaias wasn’t expected to make much of a mess when it came through Tuesday morning, but the system’s strong winds felled trees, toppled power lines and spawned tornadoes that caused widespread damage. But before the storm’s last bands had passed through the region, Dominion Energy workers deployed to help the more than 400,000 homes that lost power. … To everyone who went above and beyond in the aftermath of this week’s weather, a grateful region thanks you.”
The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA)
Natural Gas Reliability & Resiliency
Dominion Energy’s natural gas operations have a strong record of reliable service. In a typical
year, our distribution customers rarely experience service interruptions. We respond to all
reported gas emergencies. In 98% of all cases, we are onsite within 60 minutes. Our extensive
storage pools enabled us to respond to customer demand without interruption.
To maintain this strong record, we rely on around-the-clock monitoring, deploy remote sensors, and install remote-controlled shutoff valves to prevent, isolate, and repair any deficiencies.
Pipeline Replacement Programs
Dominion Energy has invested substantial sums modernizing its natural gas network — more than $1.9
billion in Ohio, for example, to replace cast iron, bare steel, and ineffectively coated pipelines and
services. In Utah, we have spent more than $500 million to replace all cast-iron bare steel and
ineffectively coated pipe. Dominion Energy West Virginia (DEVW) launched its Pipeline Replacement and
Expansion Program in 2016. In 2020, Dominion Energy Ohio replaced 135 miles of pipe and Dominion Energy
West Virginia replaced 30 miles of pipe. Over roughly the next two decades, DEWV will replace more than
1,000 miles of pipe in its 3,244-mile distribution pipeline system
These programs not only reduce system emissions, they fortify the critical delivery systems our customers depend on to heat their homes and buildings and power the processes they need to run their businesses.
On March 18, 2020 — shortly after Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared a state emergency because of the coronavirus — Salt Lake City suffered a 5.7-magnitude earthquake, followed by multiple aftershocks for weeks afterward. Dominion Energy Utah received more than 1,700 emergency calls on the day of the quake, and nearly 400 the day after. We responded to 100% of the calls within 24 hours. Out of 1,397 orders issued the day of the quake, fewer than 10 had yet to be completed by 10 p.m. the night of the quake.