This may come as a surprise, but blogging is not the Energy Conservation Group’s main activity here at Dominion.
The Energy Conservation group is responsible for providing our customers with energy conservation programs. It sounds much easier than it actually is.
In truth, it is a long process of finding programs that we feel are beneficial to our customers, filing for approval of the programs by the Virginia State Corporation Commission (or North Carolina Public Utilities Commission), and finally launching the programs that have been approved.
We plan for programs years in advance, and the rest of the process can take upwards of a year.
One of our programs that we launched in April 2010 is the Smart Cooling Rewards program. It helps manage higher electrical demand in the summer and reduces the need to run peak generators or import electricity into our electrical system. By easing the demand on the power grid, participants help control costs while maintaining reliability.
The Smart Cooling Rewards program is completely voluntary. Customers who meet the qualifications (homeowner, central A/C or heat pump that is easily accessible, Virginia or North Carolina customer) can enroll through Dominion’s Manage Your Account (MYA) online portal or by calling 1-888-366-8280.
By enrolling in the program, participants allow Dominion to install an A/C cycling “switch” on their outside cooling system. During periods of high electricity demand, usually the hottest days of the summer, Dominion may call a cycling “event”.
During an event a signal is sent to the switch at your home enabling the switch to cycle your cooling system’s compressor at 50% of its normal run time. The fan will continue to run and circulate already cooled air.
Cycling “events” are limited to weekdays - typically between 2pm and 6pm during the cycling season of June 1 - September 30. There are no weekend or holiday events.
To thank customers for participating, Dominion mails a $40 check directly to their home annually after each summer they participate.
The Smart Cooling Rewards program has had nearly 50,000 participants enroll since launching in April 2010. By 2014, Dominion is projected to have 170,000 customers enrolled and participating in the program.
During each cycling event in 2011, participants in the Smart Cooling Rewards program reduced peak electrical demand by approximately 31 megawatts - equal to the energy demand of nearly 8,000 homes - on days when electricity demand is at its highest.
For additional program information and to enroll visit www.dom.com/smartcool or call 1-888-366-8280.
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