Corporate

Smart Pricing Plan FAQs - Business

Program Overview

Why is Dominion offering the Smart Pricing Plan?

Dominion is always looking for ways to help our customers and our communities conserve and be smart about energy usage. The Smart Pricing Plan is a pilot program which offers customers a pricing option that rewards them for using energy during off-peak periods.  By using energy during off-peak periods rather than on-peak periods, customers are helping manage Dominion’s costs by reducing the need to import electricity and relieving the pressures on our electrical system. 

How does the Plan work?

The Smart Pricing Plan utilizes smart metering technology that currently exists on some customer homes and businesses.  Smart metering technology measures energy usage every 30 minutes which enables Dominion to offer pricing that varies based on the time of day.

Therefore, the meter coupled with the Smart Pricing Plan allows customers to manage their energy costs based on the time of day.  The Smart Pricing Plan considers several items: the season, a classification for the day (high, medium, or low), time of day, and the customer’s demand (kW).  On the Smart Pricing Plan, when Dominion’s costs are low, customer’s energy prices are low.

Dominion will provide advance notification of when higher priced days will occur so that customers are able to manage their energy consumption in response to the price for electricity. 

Why is the Smart Pricing Plan a pilot program?

The Smart Pricing Plan is a pilot program, which provides eligible customers additional pricing options.  Dominion wants to learn about the pilot participant’s ability to adapt to the changing prices each day and their willingness to shift electricity consumption to off-peak periods.

Dominion will evaluate and determine if a program similar to the Smart Pricing Plan will be beneficial to additional customers in the future.

What is peak demand?

Demand is the amount of electricity that is needed and being consumed at any given time.

The level of demand for electricity across Dominion’s system fluctuates constantly depending on many factors, like weather conditions and the time of day. When the level of electric demand is at its highest, it is called the peak electric demand.  Peak demand across Dominion’s service territory typically occurs on the hottest or coldest days.

At home, customers will typically have a peak demand when they are cooling their home, and using other appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time. 

Why do I need a smart meter to participate?

The Smart Pricing Plan has different prices for the energy you use depending on the hour of the day and the day classification.  Standard residential meters provide Dominion with usage on a monthly basis.  Smart meters measure the energy used every 30 minutes and allows Dominion to apply the correct price.

Pricing & Notifications

How does the pricing work?

Prices change based on the day classification as well the time of day.  During the summer, the highest prices are in the middle of the day between 1 PM and 7 PM, during the winter the highest prices are during the early morning and early evening.

Each day will be classified as a high priced (A) day, a medium priced (B) day or a low priced (C) day.  Low priced (C) days will occur most frequently, at least 280 days a year.  There will be no more than 30 high-priced (A) days per year, and the rest will be medium priced (B) days.

Dominion will determine the day classification and provide advance notification for high priced (A) days by 6 PM the day before. 

For businesses, critical peak event notifications will be provided at least 2 hours before.  Events can occur on any day classification; but typically they will occur on high priced (A) days. 

Refer to the Day Classification and Events Calendar for full details of energy priced days. 

What are the details of the pricing?

The Smart Pricing Plan has various pricing components which include: the season, a classification for the day (high, medium, or low), time of day, and the customer’s demand (kW).

For specific information on the Smart Pricing Plan, refer to the rate details for GS-1 customers and GS-2 customers.

How do I know when the electricity prices change? Will I be notified?

The Smart Pricing Plan has various pricing components which include: the season, a classification for the day (high, medium, or low), time of day, and the customer’s demand (kW).

Dominion will determine the day classification and provide advance notification for high priced days by 6 PM the day before on the website, or by 8 PM the day before by phone or email notification.  Business customers will receive a two hour advance notification of critical peak events. 

Refer to the Day Classification and Events Calendar for full details of energy priced days. 

During enrollment, you have the option to receive phone and/or email notifications.  Please call 1-866-566-6436 to provide or change your contact information for these notifications.

How often will high price (A) days occur?

As part of the Smart Pricing Plan there is the potential for up to 30 high priced (A) days during the energy year (June 1 – May 31).  High priced days typically occur during the summer season between June and September and sometimes during colder winter months such as December, January, or February.  There is the potential for high priced days to occur consecutively.  Remember, the smart pricing plan can be managed by choosing to control energy usage everyday in relation to the times of day, or perhaps only on the 30 high priced days a year, whichever works for you.

For businesses, there is the potential for critical peak pricing events to occur up to 25 times per year in five-hour blocks.  These critical peak pricing events can occur on any day but will typically occur on high priced days.  Rarely, two events may fall on the same day, counting as 2 toward the 25 annual limit.   

Can high priced days ever fall on the weekends?

Yes, high priced (A) days can occur any day of the year (including holiday’s), but you can expect the majority of the 30 days to fall on weekdays. 

What determines if it’s a high priced (A) day?

Dominion continually monitors the regional wholesale market for electricity.  When wholesale costs and energy demand are high, it is likely that Dominion will determine that it’s a high priced day.  High wholesale market costs are often correlated with weather and emergency events that impact system reliability.

Although it is not a requirement of the program that all 30 “A” days be called, Dominion’s goal is to call 30, and you should expect 30 “A” days between June 1 and May 31.  There are three day classifications (A,B,C).  Within each day type, Dominion experiences cost variation (that is, some “A” days are more costly than others).  Thus, within the 30 “A” days, there will be a handful corresponding to the hottest/coldest days of the year, and there will also be “borderline” days, that could have been classified as a “B” day.

In conjunction with weather and wholesale energy prices, other contributing factors in determining the day classification include:

  • The availability of the company’s generating units.  If Dominion has an unplanned outage of a large generating unit, then a day that normally would be classified as “B” or “C” may need to be classified as “A”.
  • The higher energy demand from commercial and governmental customers on weekdays, versus weekends.  It is much more likely Dominion will hit a peak in energy usage during weekdays, when many of our large commercial and governmental customers are in operation.  Although “A” days can indeed fall on the weekend, it is less likely.
Can I get notified every day?

Dominion’s website will be updated each day with the next day’s classification type.

Dominion will provide advance notifications when energy prices will be the highest, which occur on high priced days.  You can identify the day classification and pricing by going online to the Day Classification and Events Calendar.

What if my bill goes up?

The Smart Pricing Plan is a year-long plan where customers see price benefits over the course of an entire year.  At the end of the year, an accurate comparison may be done comparing your current pricing plan to previous pricing plans.

You could expect some price fluctuations in your bill as a result of being on the Smart Pricing Plan.  The summer and winter months, when it is at its hottest and coldest, may cause your bill to increase, but you should expect to save more during the fall and spring months.

How does this pricing plan compare to my current plan? Will I pay more for electricity than I do under my current plan?

When Dominion’s costs are low, your prices are low.  Dominion’s costs are typically higher during hot summer months and in the cold winter months.  Lower costs typically occur during the fall and spring.  Similarly, your bills, and more importantly your savings will probably vary from month to month.  Small steps to modify your use of electricity make it possible to save while on the Smart Pricing Plan.

Businesses have additional pricing options.  After a business signs up for the Smart Pricing Plan, at the end of the pilot, the business will return to its previous pricing plan, unless it has been closed.  

What is the difference between kilowatt (kW) and kilowatt-hour (kWh?)

kWh is a measurement of energy - this is what Dominion delivers to you.  Demand (kW) is the rate at which energy is used.

If Dominion’s product is energy, why is kW (demand) measured by Dominion?

We measure demand because we plan for the maximum electrical demand that can be expected.  Our facilities are sized based on kW (demand) to satisfy the highest demand.  By measuring and calculating demand, Dominion can better ensure that facilities are properly sized and that customers are charged appropriately for their rate of energy consumption (demand or kW).

How does Dominion measure kW?

Dominion records the energy consumed during every 30-minute interval of the month.  Demand, kW, is determined by the highest average kW measured during any 30-minute interval of the current and previous 11 billing months.  Refer to the Rate Details for DP-1 (GS-1 customers) and DP-2 (GS-2 customers) for specific pricing details. 

What is the Distribution Demand charge on my bill?

Refer to the Rate Details for DP-1 (GS-1 customers) and DP-2 (GS-2 customers) for specific demand pricing details. 

How do I manage the Distribution Demand charge on my bill?

Performing all business functions that require electricity simultaneously creates a higher demand.  While participating in the Smart Pricing Plan, staggering your electrical load over the course of multiple 30-minute periods will result in a lower overall demand charge on your bill. Even during off-peak periods you will also want to manage your demand.  For example, during off-peak periods, you will want to stagger the times at which you perform certain activities.

There are many ways to manage demand and energy usage including manual controls and time-clocks to sophisticated automatic units that program buildings and processes.  For the average commercial building, the best control over electrical demand may not be in the electric system, but in the building itself.  Good thermal design – tight construction, good window design, and appropriately sized ventilation systems – is the key to energy conservation.  It creates less need for heat and cooling, allowing you to select smaller, more cost effective equipment. 

What is an “event” and what does it mean?

For businesses, there is the potential for critical peak pricing events to occur up to 25 times per year in five-hour blocks.  These critical peak pricing events can occur on any day but will typically occur on high priced days.  Rarely, two events may fall on the same day, counting as 2 toward the 25 annual limit.

During the heating season, events typically will fall between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. or between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.  During the cooling season, events typically will fall between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Back-to-back events during the summer typically will fall between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.) Events should be viewed as a surcharge, in addition to the current pricing for that day and time.  Energy used during an event costs an additional 52¢ per kWh.

Events are notated on the Day Classification and Events calendar with an asterisk (*). 

How can I manage my energy and demand during an event?

Responding to the “events” can help manage energy used during the high priced event periods.  Some energy reduction strategies include:

Small Retailers

  • Turn off all non-essential indoor/outdoor lighting, signage, window displays and office equipment not in use (i.e., printers, copiers, shredders, coffee makers).
  • Turn off all decorative features, such as fountains, lighting and ambient audio and video displays.
  • Pre-cool work areas, then cycle HVAC units and turn on ceiling fans and room fans, and raise temperature settings.
  • Shut doors and windows to pre-cool and then turn off air conditioning during an event.
  • Turn off beverage vending machines and shift use of ice makers before or after an event.
  • Conduct meetings during events to minimize use of equipment.
  • Charge batteries and battery-operated equipment prior to an event, then unplug battery chargers and use only pre-charged equipment during an event.
  • Adjust employee schedules and shifts so that times of increased production or energy use occur before or after planned events.
  • Turn off excess cash registers and computers.
  • Perform housekeeping-related tasks before or after an event.

Product Retailers (in addition to those stated above)

  • Reduce lighting and decrease air conditioning in back-office and unused spaces.
  • Turn off excess elevators and escalators (as permitted).

Grocery Retailers (in addition to those stated above)

  • Delay the use of electric resistance defrost controls and the use of anti-sweat heaters.
  • Shift the use of electrically-operated equipment before or after an event.
  • Refrigerated storage and refrigerant compressors can be turned down, cycled or turned off, and may safely float for hours with little temperature change.

Participation & Eligibility

Who can participate in the Smart Pricing Plan?

The Smart Pricing Plan is available for Dominion customers that have either a smart meter or interval data meter.  Learn more about Dominion’s smart meter deployment.

The Smart Pricing Plan will continue through January 31, 2016.  New customer enrollments will be accepted through December 1, 2014.  Current participants do not need to re-enroll, your participation is ongoing unless you call 1-866-566-6436 and let us know you would like to stop participating.

How can I enroll in the Smart Pricing Plan?

Dominion offered the Smart Pricing Plan to customers in specific areas across Virginia.  Eligible customers in these areas have a smart meter or interval data meter that currently exists on their home or business.  Enrollment and sign-up will be open through December 1, 2014.  The pilot will conclude January 31, 2016.

Customers can call 1-866-566-6436 to determine if they are eligible and to enroll.

Is this a limited offer?

Yes, the Smart Pricing Plan is a pilot program.  Dominion wants to learn about the pilot participant’s ability to adapt to the changing prices each day and their willingness to shift electricity consumption to off-peak periods. Dominion will evaluate and determine if a program similar to Smart Pricing Plan will be beneficial to additional customers in the future.

The pilot is limited to 2,000 residential and 1,000 business participants.

What do I get for participating?

The Smart Pricing Plan is an additional pricing option that rewards you for using energy during off-peak periods.  By using energy during off-peak periods rather than during on-peak periods, you can better manage your energy costs. 

How much money will I save on the Smart Pricing Plan?

The Smart Pricing Plan provides you with an incentive to change when and how much energy you use.  The money savings will depend on your business, the measures you take to save energy, and the extent that you shift your use to off-peak periods. 

Can I participate if I’m on Budget Billing?

Yes.  You can continue your participation in Budget Billing. Remember that Budget Billing is a budgeting tool that helps avoid seasonal fluctuations in your bill.  The budget amount is based on the average of the previous bills for the past 12 months at your address and then adjusted for current rates. Your account is reviewed periodically and your budget amounts may increase or decrease based on changes in usage or rates.

Do I have to program my thermostat or change anything to participate?

No, participating in Smart Pricing Plan is completely voluntary, and does not require any equipment. 

Can I participate if I have an energy management system?

Yes.  Customer devices that help monitor energy use can be programmed to the smart pricing times of day and help in the management of this plan. 

Do I have to participate in the Smart Pricing Plan?

No. The pilot is entirely voluntary.

I’m on a time-of-use rate now, is this similar? Can I go back to a time-of-use plan when the pilot is over?

The Smart Pricing Plan is similar to a time-of-use plan in that both vary based on the time of day.  The Smart Pricing Plan also considers day classifications [high priced (A) day, a medium priced (B) day or a low priced (C) day] as well as factors in a demand charge.  For business customers, the Smart Pricing Plan also includes a critical peak event time period.

If you are currently on a time-of-use rate that are interested in going on the Smart Pricing Plan can call 1-866-566-6436.  The Smart Pricing Plan is a pilot, and after the pilot concludes you will return to your original pricing plan, unless those rates have been closed.  To review Dominions rate plans, visit our website for a listing of residential and business rates that are available.

How will I know when I am participating in the program?

Once you have spoken with a Dominion representative and enrolled in the program, Dominion will send a welcome package of additional information.  The welcome package will indicate the effective date of the new rate.  This date will coincide with your next billing period.  Your bill will identify the various components of the Smart Pricing Plan.

How long do I have to participate?

Once you are enrolled, you do not have to sign up each year.  Your program enrollment is ongoing, unless we hear from you.  The Smart Pricing Plan is expected to expire on January 31, 2016.

The Smart Pricing Plan is a year-long plan in which customers see price benefits over the course of an entire year.  

I didn’t get notified of a high priced day, what do I do?

Dominion’s website will be updated by 6 PM each day with tomorrow’s day classification.

Dominion will provide advance notifications when our energy costs will be the highest, which occur on high priced days.  You can identify the day classification and pricing by going online to our Day Classification and Events Calendar.

  • The phone notifications will be sent from the Smart Pricing Plan number: 1-866-566-6436.
  • The email notifications will be sent from Dominion@SmartPricing.com
  • Update your phone and address book with these contacts to ensure you receive the notifications.

If you would like to update your email or phone number to begin receiving pricing notifications related to the Smart Pricing Plan, you may call 1-866-566-6436

If I am unhappy with the Smart Pricing Plan, can I change my rate?

We would like to discuss with you your experience on the Smart Pricing Plan and any possible reasons you were not satisfied.  We ask that you call 1-866-566-6436 to speak with a representative about your experience on the Smart Pricing Plan.

The Smart Pricing Plan is a year-long plan during which customers see price benefits over the course of an entire year. 

I have a question, who do I call?

Call 1-866-566-6436 to speak to a representative about the Smart Pricing Plan. 

NYSE : (April 17, 2014) D 70.67 -0.86