Update on Virginia utilities’ energy efficiency programs

By: Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC Executive Director

Back in March, the VAEEC provided support for utility energy efficiency programs that were being reviewed by the State Corporation Commission (SCC).

I testified (you can read the testimony here) in favor of Dominion’s three proposed programs that would have benefited a wide variety of consumers, including a rebate program for residential customers who purchase wifi thermostats, an expansion of Dominion’s air conditioning recycling program, which pays consumers to allow their units to cycle during peak demand and finally, a small business improvement program to help this customer base update aging energy infrastructure.

Dominion received notification from the SCC on April 19. Here is a brief summary of the outcome:

  • The proposed Residential Thermostat Program was denied.
  • The extension for the AC cycling program was approved.
  • The proposed Small Business Improvement program was approved for five years, but the budget was reduced by 50%.

The VAEEC also submitted comments (read them here) in support of the expansion of Washington Gas’s CARE program. Initially, the utility was seeking $12.3 million for the proposed expansion of the program over 3 years but the SCC only approved $6 million for the same time period. Despite this setback, the utility says they are excited about the benefits these programs will provide to Virginia utility customers. One exciting note on the new program expansion includes more than doubling the number of customers who can take advantage of the Home Energy Report program, which helps consumers take control of their energy usage and reduce their monthly energy bills.

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