The next time you get your power bill from Dominion, it might be a couple bucks cheaper, but don’t get used to it. When a handful of adjustments take effect, the average electricity bill in Virginia for residential customers will rise from $108.73 to $116.27.
Business owners can expect commercial rates to rise by 6.9 percent.
But in the short term, they will likely fall. As of yesterday, the average Dominion residential customer will see a reduction of about $3.64 because of lower commodities prices.
“The old fuel costs were calculated when gas was $4 a gallon, and we all remember what that was like,” said David Botkins, a spokesperson at Dominion. “There is a lot that goes into calculating an energy bill but the fuel costs that are part of it reflect the lower price of gas and other energy-producing commodities.”
Uranium and coal are also cheaper, Botkins said
The price drop is slightly larger for commercial customers. That’s because fuel costs play a larger role in the bill for commercial accounts, Botkins said.
But then costs will start rising, including a new $1.26 surcharge tol cover the cost of the regional transmission system, which was designed to save customers money by increasing reliability. An analysis by Chmura Economics stated that the system would save Dominion customers more than $800 million.
But according to Botkins, having access to the PJM’s energy is what saves consumers money.
“Dominion has access to their supply of electricity, rather than us having to import it from a more expensive source,” he said. PJM is an energy supplier based out of Valley Forge, Pa. Dominion joined with the company in 2005.
Electricity rates in Virginia are set by the State Corporation Commission, which regulates power companies. Both the surcharge and the fuel-cost adjustment are a part of a rate change that will take place over the coming months and will ultimately result in a 6.9 percent increase in rates by next year.
Other reasons for the increase include:
• An increase of $77 million, or $1.40 a month per customer, for the Bear Garden Power Station in Buckingham County, effective Jan. 1. The SCC approved construction of the project Friday.
• An increase of $99 million, or about $1.78 a month, for the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Southwest Virginia, to take effect Jan. 1.
• A notice of intent to file for an increase of about $20 million to $30 million, or about 40 cents to 50 cents a month, for new energy efficiency and conservation programs. This case is scheduled to be filed on or after July 1, and, if approved, will become effective by May 1.
You can read more on Dominion’s website.
David Larter is a BizSense reporter. Please send news tips to [email protected]