Power rates set to rise

Published 3:05 pm Friday, December 31, 2010

Dominion Virginia Power customers will see a slight hike in their electric bills soon, as rates rise because of the end of customer credits.

Customers effectively will see a 4.6 percent increase in their rates now that $268 million in customer credits are completed. Dominion customers have been receiving the credits on their bills since April.

“Even with these changes, the company’s rates will remain well below the national average electric rate and 28 percent below the average of East Coast utilities,” Paul Koonce, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Virginia Power, said in a press release.

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Koonce laid out a five-year investment plan to ensure customers continue to have ample supplies of reliable power. The plan includes $7.6 billion for new power stations, a hybrid coal-and-biomass station in Southwest Virginia and a solar power project in Halifax County that is currently under development. The company also is searching for a suitable site for a wind power farm.

About $4 billion of the total will be spent to add or upgrade transmission and distribution lines, substations and other related facilities that help bring the power to customers.

“We look for the most efficient, technologically proven and environmentally responsible approach,” Koonce said.

The company has developed a new strategy, called “Powering Virginia,” to meet the ever-increasing demand for electricity.

“Economic and population growth are not the only reasons we need to invest,” Koonce said. “The typical customer today also uses much more electricity. In 1980, the average U.S. household had just three electronic products. Today, that number is 25.”

The company also plans a circuit reconditioning program that will target lines that experience higher levels of outages.

Dominion also has added conservation programs for homeowners and businesses to help curb their energy use.

For more information, visit www.dom.com.