US utility Dominion Energy secured approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission to refund its overcharged customers.Dominion Energy has been allowed to spend between $11 million and $12 million in refunding some 24,000 commercial consumers overcharged due to billing problems experienced by the utility as from July 2013 and June 2016.

According to a local publication, a study conducted by the utility company revealed that 10% of its commercial customers in Virginia had their energy consumption inaccurately measured during the firm’s peak demand periods.

Dominion Energy increases its energy tariffs during peak demand periods in line with consumer energy consumption patterns.

However, the utility says it inaccurately billed its customers who had older meters which needed to be manually set to zero for them to participate in new energy tariff schedules. The utility’s technicians did not reset the analogue electric meters of approximately 24,000 commercial consumers set to receive the refunds.

In addition to the refunds, Dominion Energy will offer its commercial customers a 5% discount on their energy bills.

Customers willing to be refunded will submit their billing records to the energy provider.

Ann Wilder, a manager in Dominion’s customer billing service, said: “We’re going to analyse anything customers submit and make the appropriate adjustments.”

Following the discovery of consumers being overbilled, Dominion Energy says it has re-trained its technicians and has set a plan to replace analogue meters with automated and advanced meters to avoid inaccurately billing customers.

“The company sincerely regrets this inadequacy in its meter-reading process and the associated impact to this subset of customers,” wrote Dominion Energy in its proposal filed with the state’s energy regulator.

The energy provider has been asked to provide the State Corporation Commission with a report of the total costs of refunds made and the number of consumers repaid.

Dominion Energy and smart grid technologies

Meanwhile, the energy company's smart grid solutions division Dominion Voltage has been selected by US energy provider Ameren Illinois to modernise its grid and implement energy efficiency projects.

Ameren Illinois is having its grid system integrated with Dominion Voltage's Volt/VAR optimisation solution to help consumers improve their energy efficiency without changing energy consumption behaviours.

The installation of the VVO solution started in June and is expected to be completed before the end of the year. Read more...

 

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