Corporate

Frequently Asked Questions for Home and Business Customers

About Dominion Green Power

Why is Dominion offering a voluntary renewable energy program?

Dominion is responding to the desires of our customers and our own commitment to renewable resources. Plus, we think it is the right thing to do.

When did this program begin?

The program launched on January 1, 2009.

How does the program work?

When you sign up your home or business for Dominion Green Power, Dominion buys Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) from renewable energy facilities on your behalf to guarantee that renewable energy is generated and delivered to the power pool in the amount specified.

There are two Dominion Green Power enrollment options:

100% Option

  • Pricing Details: This option allows you to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equal to your entire monthly electricity use. This additional cost is calculated by adding $0.013 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used to your monthly bill.
  • Example: If you are enrolled in the 100% Option and use 1,000 kWh per month, you can expect to pay $13 more per month for Dominion Green Power (1,000 kWh x $0.013). Actual cost will be calculated by Dominion and will vary from month to month according to your actual electricity use.
  • Benefit of Participation: If you are enrolled in the 100% Option for one year and use an average of 1,000 kWh each month, you guarantee the delivery of 12 MWh of renewable energy to our regional power pool which contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing one and a half cars from the road for a year.*

When you enroll, your monthly electricity bill will display a separate line item with the additional charge for Dominion Green Power. Dominion does not make a profit on your Dominion Green Power purchase. Check out our cost estimator chart to help estimate the environmental benefits you can create with your purchase.*

* Calculations are approximate and based on EPA methodology.

Block Option

  • Pricing Details: This option allows you to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in any $2 fixed increment - as much as you wish. Each block represents 154 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy and costs $2 (based on a rate of $0.013 per kWh).
  • Example: You can choose to add as much as you want per month ($2, $4, $6, $8, $10, $20… you choose!) to your monthly electricity bill to support renewable energy. The amount is up to you, and will be the same fixed amount on your bill each month.
  • Benefit of Participation: If you enroll in the Block Option for $10 more per month for one year, you guarantee the delivery of 8 MWhs of renewable energy to the regional supply pool and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing one car from the road for a year. The more you buy, the more benefits you create.*

When you enroll, your monthly electricity bill will display a separate line item with the additional charge for Dominion Green Power. Dominion does not make a profit on your Dominion Green Power purchase. Check out our cost estimator chart to help estimate the environmental benefits you can create with your purchase.*

* Calculations are approximate and based on EPA methodology.

What are the benefits of participating in the Dominion Green Power Program?

Dominion Green Power makes it easy for customers to have a positive environmental impact in the region by supporting the development of new clean energy technologies.

A customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month of electricity who is enrolled in Dominion Green Power’s 100% Option for one year will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 8 metric tons - the same greenhouse gas reduction provided by removing one and a half cars from the road for one year*.

Alternatively, signing up for $10 per month with the Block Option is equivalent to removing 1.2 cars from the road for a year.

Other benefits of supporting Green Power include:

  • Supporting the creation of “green” jobs in the US
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Helping expand America’s renewable energy resources

* According to the U.S. EPA, the average car is driven 11,720 miles per year. For more information see the US EPA Green Power Equivalency Calculator found at: www.epa.gov/grnpower/pubs/calculator.htm

Will renewable energy sold in the Dominion Green Power Program count towards the Virginia Renewable Energy Goal?

No. Dominion Green Power is a voluntary program that gives customers the option to be leaders in the growth of renewable energy above and beyond other government goals or requirements. Your purchase really makes a difference. The RECs purchased for the Dominion Green Power program are retired on behalf of Program participants and are completely separate from any other RECs Dominion Virginia Power may purchase.

The renewable energy supported through this program is above and beyond Dominion's commitment to achieving Virginia's Renewable Energy Goal of 15 percent of base year electricity energy sales coming from renewable energy sources by 2025. Therefore, renewable energy certificates purchased on behalf of customers participating in this program complement Dominion's expansion of its renewable generation portfolio by supporting additional development and generation of renewable power in a variety of locations in Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Midwest states.

Here's more information about Dominion's renewable generation. The company has a growing portfolio of renewable energy, which now totals nearly 1,300 megawatts in operation, construction or under development in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southeast regions.

How does Dominion Green Power buy Renewable Energy Certificates for its customers?

Under both options, Dominion will purchase and retire Green-e Energy® certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from renewable energy generators. The amount purchased will be determined by the level of customer demand.

This program provides customers with a voluntary means of supporting the production and development of renewable energy sources in a convenient and affordable way. Dominion will make periodic reports to customers on the type and total amount of renewable energy purchased in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through the program. To learn more about RECs, please visit 3Degrees, the Department of Energy, and Green-e Energy®.

Will I receive an actual certificate when I purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through Dominion Green Power?

No. You will not receive an actual paper certificate in the mail when you purchase RECs though this program. In a utility green power program like ours, it is not typical to receive a certificate when you purchase RECs because the utility purchases these RECs in aggregate on behalf of all participating customers.

Nonetheless, your purchase means you get to claim the environmental benefits (such as decreased carbon dioxide) of the RECs you purchase, and your purchase still makes a difference in the environment. The fact that you don’t receive a paper certificate in the mail does not diminish this fact.

To keep you informed of the environmental benefits you have personally created with your participation, Dominion will send you a customized Participation Summary each year.

You can enroll online or by calling customer service at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

Do Renewable Energy Certificates purchased by a customer in the Dominion Green Power program directly reduce the amount of other traditional sources of energy generated by Dominion?

No. Dominion is pursuing other sources of renewable electric generation to increase the amount of electrical energy generated by Dominion from renewable sources. Here's more information about the company's plans for powering Virginia.

The Dominion Green Power program is designed for customers who want to make a personal investment in renewable energy in addition to what Dominion is doing to meet Virginia's Renewable Energy Goal. Through participation in this program, Dominion will purchase Green-e Energy® certified renewable energy certificates in the amount specified by participating customers. These certificates verify that the amount of renewable energy purchased was generated and delivered to the regional electrical grid.

How can I be sure my purchase is making a difference and supporting renewable energy?

Dominion has gone to great lengths to ensure that this program provides customers with a renewable energy product that is of high quality and is thoroughly verified and documented. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and regional electronic tracking systems, operated by APX, Inc., are used to ensure that no two customers pay for the same unit of renewable energy generation and that the origin of the renewable energy is documented. Once purchased, the RECs are retired on behalf of participating customers in the amount equivalent to the total amount purchased by Dominion customers.

One REC validates that one Megawatt-hour (MWh) of power from a renewable resource has been both generated and delivered to the regional power pool. A purchased REC also documents ownership of the environmental attributes associated with that specific MWh of renewable energy. APX, Inc. is the entity that provides REC creation, metering, tracking, management, and retirement for all North American REC tracking systems. Through web-based software, APX provides every REC a unique serial number that is recorded in a registry, and then tracked from inception to retirement. These serial numbers allow transparency, accountability, and avoid issues with double-counting.

The firm 3Degrees Group, Inc. has been selected to purchase and verify the certificates through independent third parties. 3Degrees is a nationally recognized provider of Green-e Energy® certified renewable energy. The firm was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with Green Power Leadership Awards for an unprecedented 5 years in a row from 2007-2011. 3Degrees' role is to provide program support services for Dominion and to purchase and deliver RECs that meet the Green-e Energy® standard. Green-e Energy® certification of the RECs provides the customer with added value through application of its rigorous standards for transparency and quality assurance, consumer confidence and support for consumer education.

What is Green-e Energy certification?

Green-e Energy is the nation's leading voluntary certification program for renewable energy. Green-e Energy is a program of the Center for Resource Solutions, a national nonprofit organization working to mitigate climate change by building policies and consumer-protection mechanisms in renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions and energy efficiency.

For over a decade, Green-e Energy has been certifying renewable energy that meets the environmental and consumer protection standards, highlighted in the Green-e National Standard, that was developed in conjunction with leading environmental, energy and policy organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The Dominion Green Power program and the RECs purchased for the program are Green-e Energy certified. These certifications mean that:

  • Dominion purchases and retires enough RECs to meet participating customer demand;
  • The RECs purchased for this program come from renewable energy facilities that meet Green-e standards;
  • Green-e standards require that the RECs purchased through Dominion Green Power are from “New” renewable facilities that have come online no earlier than 1998 and that they are only used once, then retired;
  • The customer education and program marketing materials provided by this program are accurate and disclose relevant program details, terms, and conditions.

You can learn more about Green-e certification at www.green-e.org.

As a Business/Institution, will my green power purchase qualify my organization for recognition in the U.S. Green Power Partnership?

Your organization can join the voluntary U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership with a qualifying purchase through Dominion Green Power. The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power. To qualify for the EPA Green Power Partnership, potential Partner organizations must meet or exceed a minimum percentage of green power (see table below) that corresponds to the organization's annual purchased electricity use.

Minimium Purchase Requirements for U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership

If your annual electricity use in kilowatt-hours is . . .

You must, at a minimum, purchase this much green power each year

greater than or equal to 100,000,001 kWh

3% of your use

10,000,001-100,000,000 kWh

5% of your use

1,000,001 - 10,000,000 kWh

10% of your use

less than or equal to 1,000,000 kWh

20% of your use

To learn more about the U.S. EPA Green Power Partnership visit www.epa.gov/grnpower.

Who is the Dominion Green Power program's Renewable Energy Certificate provider?

Dominion's renewable energy provider is 3Degrees Group, Inc. This firm was selected on the basis of its experience providing similar services to other utilities across the country and its extensive knowledge of the renewable energy industry. 3Degrees is a nationally recognized provider of renewable energy. The firm was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with Green Power Leadership Awards for an unprecedented 5 years in a row from 2007-2011.

For more information, visit 3Degrees at www.3degreesinc.com.

What role does 3Degrees play?

3Degrees will purchase and retire Green-e Energy® certified Renewable Energy Certificates in the amount specified by Dominion Virginia Power customers through this program. 3Degrees is also responsible for verifying and tracking renewable energy certificates used to support the program and for customer service center support, consumer education, and program reporting.

Eligibility and Cost

How do I enroll?

You can enroll online or by calling customer service 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

Who is eligible to participate?

Residential, commercial and industrial customers
Residential, commercial and industrial customers in Virginia are eligible to participate in the Dominion Green Power program. This includes customers who purchase electric supply in accordance with Schedules 1 , 1-CPP, 1P, 1S, 1T, 5, 5C, 5P, 6, 6TS, 10, 25, 29, GS-1, GS-2, GS-2T, GS-3 or GS-4. Customers receiving temporary service or customers receiving service from a competitive service provider are not eligible.

Is there a cancellation fee if I decide to discontinue my participation?

No. There is no cancellation fee and you may cancel anytime. Dominion will make the change to your account within 30 days of receiving your request to cancel.

How much does it cost to support renewable energy through Dominion Green Power?

Both the 100% Option and Block Option for Dominion Green Power are based on an additional charge of 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Dominion Green Power will purchase the equivalent amount of renewable energy certificates on the customer's behalf based on your enrollment option.

  • 100% Option: This option allows you to purchase RECs to match your monthly electricity use. This additional cost is calculated by adding 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used to your monthly bill.
  • Block Option: This option allows you to purchase RECs in any $2 fixed increment - as much as you wish. Each block represents 154 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy and costs $2 (based on a rate of $0.013 per kWh).

With either option, the monthly charge for Green Power is in addition to an enrolled customer's monthly electric bill. In other words, if you are enrolled in the Green Power program you will continue to receive your monthly electricity bill, and the Green Power option you choose will be added to the amount you are charged for regular electricity service. This extra charge appears on an enrolled customer's monthly electricity bill as "Green Power (Rider G)".

100% Option Enrollment Examples:

If you use this many kWh of electricity per month:

…Your additional monthly cost for Green Power with the 100% Option would be:

…And the equivalent number of cars removed from the road in one year would be*:

600

$7.80

0.9

800

$10

1.2

1,000

$13

1.5

1,200

$15.60

1.9

1,500

$19.50

2.3

2,000

$26

3.1

Block Option Enrollment Examples:

If you wish to support approximately this much kWh of renewable energy per month:

…You can enroll in this fixed dollar amount with the Block Option:

…And the equivalent number of cars removed from the road in one year would be*:

154

$2 (1 block)

0.2

600

$8 (4 blocks)

0.9

1,200

$14 (7 blocks)

1.9

2,000

$26 (13 blocks)

3.1

4,000

$52 (26 blocks)

6.3

6,000

$78 (38 blocks)

9.5

8,000

$104 (52 blocks)

12.7

*Calculations are approximate and based on EPA methodology.

Where does my money go when I sign up for Dominion Green Power?

When you sign up for the Dominion Green Power program, your monthly Green Power payment is used to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) and to help cover the costs of the program which include customer education, program promotion, tracking and verifying RECs, and program administration. Currently half of program revenue goes toward the purchase of RECs; the proportion dedicated to purchasing RECs is expected to increase as participation grows and the renewable energy market evolves.

Dominion does not make a profit from the Dominion Green Power program.

Why are some Dominion Green Power funds spent on customer education and program administration?

The Dominion Green Power program is 100 percent self-funded which means that the costs associated with the program are borne only by those customers participating in the program, rather than being spread out among all Dominion customers.

We understand that customers want as much of their Dominion Green Power purchases as possible to support renewable energy. One of the best ways to do this is by growing participation in the program. The more customers who participate in the Dominion Green Power program, the more renewable energy will be supported. In fact, for every $1.00 that is spent on customer education and program administration, about 112 more kilowatt hours of renewable energy are supported by new Green Power program participants each year!

In addition, some program administration resources are dedicated to complying with Green-e Energy certification. This certification requires that Dominion comply with yearly audits to ensure that the RECs purchased on behalf of customers are in the exact amount specified, and that the program marketing materials undergo semi-annual review to ensure their accuracy and disclose relevant program details, terms, and conditions. You can learn more about Green-e certification at www.green-e.org.

In summary, the investment in customer education and program administration helps build additional delivery of and demand for renewable energy, inform customers across Virginia about the benefits of renewable energy, and ensure the highest product quality and customer protection through Green-e certification.

Is my purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates through the Dominion Green Power program tax deductible?

No. Purchases of Renewable Energy Certificates made through the Dominion Green Power program are not charitable contributions and are not tax deductible.

How / When will I be billed?

Charges for Dominion Green Power will appear on your monthly bill as soon as your enrollment is confirmed. Your first bill will be prorated based on when during your billing cycle your enrollment is confirmed.

  • If you choose the 100% Option, you will see the "Green Power (Rider G 100% Usage)" charge on your bill as a separate line item - 1.3 cents ($0.013) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) used. The amount you pay will vary according to your energy use.
  • If you choose the Block Option, you will see "Green Power (Rider G Fixed Amount)" as a separate line item on your bill for the fixed amount you specified when you enrolled. Each $2 block equals approximately 154 kWh (based on $0.013 per kWh), and you can decide how many $2 blocks you purchase and change your purchase amount at any time.
Does Dominion profit from this program?

No, Dominion does not profit from this program.

The money provided by participating customers goes directly to purchasing renewable energy certificates and to cover program management costs which include customer education, program promotion, and tracking and verification in accordance with Green-e Energy certification to ensure the highest quality product and customer protection.

About Renewable Energy

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is electricity produced from sources that replenish themselves naturally, never run out, and are cleaner for the environment, including but not limited to:

  • Wind
  • Sunlight (Solar)
  • Landfill and agricultural waste (biomass and biogas)
  • Heat of the earth (geothermal)
  • Water (some low-impact hydroelectric facilities)
What kind of renewable energy is supported by the Dominion Green Power Program and where does the renewable energy come from?

The Dominion Green Power program purchases RECs on behalf of program participants from a number of renewable energy facilities. Specifically, the Dominion Green Power program has purchased RECs from facilities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri, Illinois and Virginia. In addition to sourcing RECs from the surrounding region, since 2011 the Dominion Green Power program has made efforts to increase the volume of Virginia-based RECs in the Green Power product. In 2011 the Program supported 20 small solar generators throughout Virginia; in 2012 our support of small solar continued, in addition to adding even more Virginia-based biomass. The Program will continue to seek opportunities to increase support of Virginia-based renewables into the future. The ability to continue this increase is directly dependent on the availability of Virginia-based RECs that meet the stringent requirements of the Green-e Energy® National Standard.

Each of these facilities is covered by the South Eastern Reliability Council (SERC) or Reliability First Corporation (RFC). The Dominion Green Power product content will be a blend of Green-e Energy® eligible renewable resources generated by facilities in these states. Dominion will make periodic reports to customers on the type and total amount of RECs purchased in support of the program.

Does the renewable electricity come directly to my house?

No. If you wanted to receive the specific electrons generated by a specific renewable facility, you would have to string power lines from that facility directly to your home, which is expensive and impractical. In fact, the electric power grid was created to prevent such a situation. Or, you could install a renewable energy generator, such as solar panels or a wind turbine, on your property and connect your home to that generator. However, this type of equipment can also be prohibitively expensive and potentially not feasible depending on where you live.

The Green Power program is a way for customers to support the production and development of renewable energy through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) for a relatively low premium compared to the other two options mentioned above.

When you buy RECs through the Green Power program, you are buying the claim to the production of the renewable energy. This means that you will be able to legitimately and verifiably claim that the power (and emissions associated with it) in your home is being offset by renewable energy that is generated and transmitted to the regional electrical grid.

Will the power to my home depend on the wind blowing or the sun shining?

No. Dominion will continue to deliver reliable power to you over the regional electricity system as it has for many years. The power that travels through the network of lines and wires that bring electricity to your home or business comes from a variety of generating sources.

Your support of the Green Power program helps add more renewable energy sources to the regional electricity system through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs).

New renewable energy sources are being constructed across the United States to meet the demand created for renewable energy. Your purchase of renewable energy certificates in the Green Power program has the benefit of encouraging greater renewable energy generation and displacing non-renewable generation over time.

What else is Dominion doing to support renewable energy?

Dominion is committed to doing its part to reach the Commonwealth of Virginia's goal of 15% electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The company is expanding its renewable generation portfolio to help achieve this goal. In addition, Dominion operates a large wind farm in West Virginia, expanding the amount of electricity we make from biomass, and examining other opportunities to increase the amount of electricity produced from renewable sources.

Voluntary customer purchases through the Dominion Green Power program will be above and beyond the renewable generation that Dominion provides. The program is designed for customers who want to make their own investment in renewable energy in addition to Dominion's investment.

What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?

Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) are issued when 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy is generated and delivered to the electric power pool. RECs represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy generation. RECs are increasingly seen as the "currency" of renewable electricity and green power markets. They can be bought and sold between multiple parties, and they allow their owners to claim that renewable electricity was produced to meet the electricity demand they create.

For every quantity of renewable energy generated and delivered to the regional power pool, an equivalent amount of RECs are created. This process creates a tracking mechanism which insures that no two customers pay for the same unit of renewable energy generation. When a customer enrolls in the Dominion Green Power program, Dominion purchases RECs to match the equivalent of enrolled customers' purchases. Thus, the more RECs that are sold, the more demand is created for renewable power. As renewable facilities sell their RECs, demand shifts to bring more renewable energy sources online.

To learn more about RECs, visit 3Degrees, the EPA, or Green-e Energy®.

Is a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) the same thing as a carbon offset?

No. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are different from carbon offsets. Although each has environmental benefits, they are different mechanisms that accomplish different goals.

According to the World Resources Institute:

"Carbon offsets allow [customers] to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions liability by purchasing the emission reductions made by another entity. Each carbon offset purchased represents the equivalent of one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided.

RECs allow [customers] to meet renewable energy goals, support renewable power projects, and demonstrate a commitment to clean, renewable electricity. Each REC represents one MWh of electricity produced from renewable energy resources."

Do other utilities offer renewable energy?

More than 850 utilities offer green power programs to their customers similar to Dominion’s Green Power program. Nationwide, approximately 570,000 customers subscribe to voluntary utility green pricing programs.

This voluntary renewable energy market as a whole supported about 40 million megawatt-hours (MWhs) of renewable energy in 2011, up 90% from 2010.*

*National Renewable Energy Laboratory Market Brief 2011

Are there different ways I can support renewable energy through my utility?

In general, there are two types of "utility green pricing programs." The most common type of program allows customers to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The second type allows customers to purchase renewable electricity.

The Dominion Green Power program is an example of a utility green pricing program which allows customers to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). One REC is issued each time one megawatt-hour of renewable energy is produced. The purchase of RECs guarantees that additional renewable energy has been delivered to the power pool in which the renewable energy facility is located and creates environmental benefits such as reduced carbon dioxide emissions due to displacing the need for conventional energy over time. RECs may be sold separately from the electricity; once the REC component is separated from the energy component, neither the generator nor the end user of that energy can claim they use green power - the right to claim the use of green power now belongs to the person who purchased the REC. In this way, participants in the Dominion Green Power program guarantee that renewable energy is delivered to the regional power pool while also providing an additional economic incentive to make renewable energy generators more competitive and ultimately increase the amount of renewable energy generation over time. Customer purchases through the Dominion Green Power program are above and beyond the renewable generation that Dominion provides. This program is designed for customers who want to make their own investment in renewable energy.

A utility green pricing program that allows customers to purchase renewable electricity may include a contract between the utility and a renewable energy generator. Participating customers pay a premium to ensure that renewable energy from that specific renewable facility is generated. This type of program ensures that customer funds were used to purchase renewable energy from a renewable facility. However, participating customers do not receive the actual "green electrons" in their home or business because the electricity from that facility is fed into the power pool along with other sources of power. The only way to guarantee the receipt of "green electrons" from a specific renewable facility is to have a renewable generator - such as a wind turbine or solar panels - directly wired to a home or business.

The Dominion Green Power program lets you buy renewable energy certificates to support renewable energy. When available, Virginia electric customers may choose to meet their electric needs by purchasing 100% renewable electricity from a competitive supplier. Currently, the company is not aware of such an option.

Where can I read more about the voluntary market for renewable energy?

There are several national and independent sources for statistics and further information on the voluntary renewable energy market including:

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