Report: Dominion Energy ‘most improved’ for energy efficiency utility company



(The Center Square) — Dominion Energy Virginia ranked as the most improved utility company of the 53 studied companies in the triennial report by The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The council is a nonprofit research organization that promotes energy efficiency – getting the “maximum use of energy consumed,” as defined in a collaborative report – to combat climate change and benefit the economy. ACEEE seeks to halve “U.S. energy use and emissions by 2050 while bolstering economic growth and equity.”

The Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which mostly shares results from 2021 and is generally published once every three years, assessed the energy efficiency of the 53 largest utility companies in the country by looking at three areas: Program performance, program offerings and enabling programs.

A perfect score in each category would amount to 54, 20, and 26 points, up to 100 points.

“Dominion VA,” referred to throughout the study, ranked 27th out of the 53 companies evaluated, with a total score of 32.5 – lower than the national average of 36.7. (By comparison, the number-one-rated company, Eversource MA, scored 85 of 100.)

But that’s a huge leap from the last report, in which Dominion placed 50th, causing Dominion to be the most improved utility company in “both absolute and relative terms.” Report authors attribute the dramatic change to the Virginia Clean Economy Act, passed in 2020.

The act “established an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) through the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA), requiring Dominion VA to achieve 5% energy savings by 2025 relative to a 2019 baseline. The VCEA also [increased] Dominion VA’s proposed investment in low-income energy efficiency programs from 5% to 15% of total program spending,” according to the report.

Dominion did the best in the program offerings category, scoring 14.5 out of a possible 20 points. It scored 13 out of 26 in enabling mechanisms and the worst in the most heavily weighted category, program performance, with a 5 out of 54.

When data was collected, Dominion scored well for comprehensiveness in its residential, commercial and industrial energy efficiency portfolios; the company had 11 emerging program areas that conduct research, test and develop new energy technologies. The top-scoring utility company for that metric was the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which had 18.

Dominion VA also offered four programs to assist low-income energy consumers, whereas the top-scorer by that metric, Detroit-based DTE Electric, offered five. Though it did have an EV program “offering incentives for EVSE, Make-Ready, EV purchases, or utility-owned EV infrastructure,” Dominion VA only scored 1.5 out of a possible 5 points for electric vehicle programs.

Dominion VA scored fairly well in energy savings targets, a metric in the “Enabling Mechanisms’ category, going from an unpublished, unplanned target in 2021 to competing with the top scorer in 2023, again DTE. It also placed 13th for energy affordability.

The company did not rank highly regarding financing solutions or workforce equity for energy efficiency programs.

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