September 9, 2016—One year ago this month, Dominion Virginia Power expanded its EnergyShare program and pledged to invest $57 million between 2015 and 2019 to help fund and expand it. At that time, Dominion stated that its goal was 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.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of that expansion, which resulted from the passage of Virginia Senate Bill 1349. The legislation froze the utility company's base rates until 2020 and kept the State Corporation Commission from conducting a comprehensive review of the company's earnings until that same year. Before the bill was passed, however, there were a few amendments added. One of those amendments directed Dominion to help low-income customers with energy assistance and weatherization programs. Governor 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 those programs.
This week, Dominion announced that it had surpassed its goal this year by serving over 14,100 households with energy bill assistance and 7,000 households with energy efficiency improvements. In addition, Dominion partnered with over 140 state agencies, nonprofits, and other entities to expand EnergyShare. It also participated in over 200 community outreach events.
Governor McAuliffe was pleased with the improvements and has challenged Dominion to “expand its efforts to educate Virginians on the value of energy conservation both to their own budgets and our efforts to combat global warming.”
Dominion accepted the challenge and has pledged to increase its outreach events from 200 to 400 in the coming year.
Since its inception in 1982, EnergyShare has helped more than 750,000 individuals and families in need with contributions and donations that amount to around $75 million. These contributions helped pay for a variety of home heating sources, from electricity to natural gas and fuel oil.
Sources: LIHEAP Clearinghouse, Dominion Virginia Power News Release, Virginia State Legislative Records