Dominion Virginia Power asks to expand two successful energy conservation programs

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Dominion Virginia Power is asking for permission to expand a program that reduces usage of electricity at peak times and a program that helps low-income families conserve energy and reduce their monthly electric bills.

Dominion has asked the Virginia State Corporation Commission to extend the Smart Cooling Rewards program, in which air conditioning units are cycled off and on for certain hours during periods of high demand for electricity in summertime. The company also asked regulators to extend a program that offers home audits and repairs for qualifying low-income residents.

“Smart Cooling Rewards can help save our customers money by avoiding the need for expensive generation during times of peak summer cooling,” said Ken Barker, vice president of customer solutions and energy conservation. “Generating electricity is typically most expensive during times of high demand.”

A Henrico County customer speaks highly of the Smart Cooling Rewards program. “I enrolled in the program to help conserve energy,” said Mrs. Paulette Willard, a retiree who lives in Glen Allen. “Since I don’t keep my air conditioner set much below 76 degrees, the home temperature change is only slightly noticeable.  The Facebook notification that Dominion provides in advance of the cycling events also helps me prepare for the cycling events.  Sometimes I stay at home.  Other times I plan activities out of the house when I know an event is scheduled.”

The program has reduced peak demand for electricity by nearly 60 megawatts of power, equal to the output of a small generating station.  It is also equal to the amount of power used by approximately 15,000 homes.

Participating customers qualify to receive a $40 incentive after each summer cooling season.

Audit program for low-income residents

The second program helps qualifying low-income residents.  “The Home Energy Improvement program has helped more than 5,000 families by identifying and installing energy conservation measures, saving about 2.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity,” Barker said.”Saving energy also saves our customers money, and it helps the environment.”

Unless the SCC approves the company’s request to extend the programs, they would end on April 30, 2013.