July 31, 2015—Dominion Virginia Power will be expanding its EnergyShare program beginning in September of this year. The program, created to help low-income families who struggle to afford their energy bills, provides financial assistance, weatherization services, and educational outreach to qualifying customers. Since the program began in 1982, EnergyShare has contributed $67 million and has helped 300,000 individuals and families in need.
Dominion Virginia Power has pledged to invest $57 million in the next four years to help fund, and expand the scope of, the program. Its new goal is to provide financial assistance to at least 10,000 homes per year, as well as provide weatherization services and outreach to between 2,600 and 5,300 homes per year. Because Dominion is also covering all of the administrative costs of operation, 100 percent of customers' donations will now go to help those in need.
Dominion's decision to expand the EnergyShare program came as a result of the passing of Senate Bill 1349 by Virginia's General Assembly in February of this year. The bill freezes the utility company's base rates until 2020. It also keeps the State Corporation Commission from conducting a comprehensive review of the company's earnings until the year 2022. However, before the bill was passed, there were a few amendments added. One of those amendments, suggested by Senator Richard Saslaw, directs Dominion to help low-income customers with energy assistance and weatherization programs. Govenor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive directive alongside the bill to have the Department of Social Services and the Department of Housing and Community Development work together with the utility on how to best implement the programs.
This expansion of the EnergyShare program is specifically geared toward helping low-income households, the elderly, military veterans, and the disabled.
Source: Dominion Virginia Power News Release, Virginia State Legislative Records