Energy conservation pilots will test customer acceptance


Richmond, VA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 18, 2008 – The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has given its approval of nine energy conservation pilot programs that will test customer acceptance of various energy saving solutions. The pilots are consistent with the Virginia Energy Plan, and will be managed by utility Dominion Virginia Power. The SCC plans to reduce electric consumption by 10 percent by the year 2022, and these pilot programs have been designed to assist.
"Dominion is pleased with the commission’s expedited approval of our conservation pilots," said Jay Johnson, chief executive officer of Dominion Virginia Power. "These programs will not only provide valuable up-to-date information regarding customer acceptance of conservation programs in Virginia, they will also establish the foundation for Dominion’s long-term strategy of enhancing the electric distribution system to meet the increasing needs and expectations of customers in the 21st Century."

This strategy will include:

  • Deployment of smart grid technologies that will help deliver superior customer service and operational performance, such as real-time outage management and power quality monitoring.
  • Advanced metering infrastructure to enable conservation, peak pricing and demand response programs.
  • Improvements to the distribution system to meet future storm reliability needs.

"These pilots will gather valuable information about what customers are willing to do and what programs may be most effective in achieving sustainable energy savings. It is anticipated that these pilots will also signal the need for a more widespread deployment of new technologies throughout entire communities or regions of our service area," said Johnson.

The pilots will be offered to a selection of 4,550 customers in Dominion’s Central, Eastern and Northern Virginia service areas. Customers will not be able to volunteer for the pilots, nor participate in more than one pilot, to help ensure that the results are representative. Dominion will report results at least quarterly to the SCC staff to help evaluate their effectiveness.

The pilots approved by the SCC include:

  • 1,000 residential customers in each of four different energy-saving pilots. The pilots are designed to cycle central heating and air conditioning units during peak-demand times, inform consumers about their real-time energy consumption patterns, promote programmable thermostats that allow customers to control their use of electricity, and educate customers about the value of reducing energy use during peak-use times.
  • Free energy audits and energy efficiency kits to 150 existing residential customers, 100 ENERGY STAR new homes, and 50 small commercial customers. In addition, 250 new homes will receive energy efficiency welcome kits that include compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Incentives for commercial customers to reduce load during periods of peak demand by running their generators to produce up to 100 megawatts of electricity. That is enough electricity to power as many as 25,000 residences at peak. This would be in addition to existing Dominion options in which commercial and industrial customers already reduce demand by more than 300 megawatts during peak-demand periods.

"We are always searching for ways to improve service to our customers,” said Johnson. "By investing aggressively in the modernization of our distribution network with advanced technologies, our customers will experience improved service along with expanded options to help them take control of their future energy costs."