The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved a portfolio of 11 new energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) programs proposed by Dominion Energy Virginia. The portfolio includes programs utilizing an array of advanced energy technologies and services, including residential customer engagement, smart thermostats, and lighting systems and controls. The Commission approved in its entirety the proposed budget of $225.8 million for the programs, which are slated to commence this summer and run through June of 2024.
“This decision marks a genuine sea change in the use of energy efficiency and demand response in Virginia,” said Harry Godfrey, executive director of Virginia AEE, in response to the Commission’s ruling. “For years our Commonwealth has badly underutilized these resources for reducing energy demand and saving money on electric bills. That’s cost Virginia families and businesses dearly. Today’s ruling is a major step toward changing that.”
Godfrey credited passage of last year’s Grid Transformation and Security Act (SB 966), with Virginia AEE in support, with making the landmark decision possible. “Dominion proposed this slate of programs, totaling over $225 million in investments, as part of the $870 financial commitment they made under SB 966. I don’t think we’d see an investment of this magnitude in energy efficiency and demand response for homes and businesses without that.”
The Commission made specific reference to SB 966 in its decision to approve the programs, writing:
“Senate Bill 966, passed during the 2018 Virginia General Assembly regular session, mandates that any energy efficiency program passing three of four specific cost-benefit tests must be found to be ‘in the public interest’ and approved by this Commission. Dominion’s proposed Phase VII programs pass three of the four tests; therefore, the law has pre-determined that these programs are in the public interests and that they shall be approved.”
— Solar Builder magazine