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Coldest-ever temps mean electric bills are about to skyrocket

If you think you’ve never felt so cold while living here in Northern Virginia, ever, you are correct. 

Dominion Energy tells us not only was it the coldest period on record, the utility also saw its highest demand — ever — for electricity. 

And that means we’re going to pay.

From an email: 

“…the first week of January was the coldest on record.

Dominion Energy customers used more energy during that week than any on record to keep their homes and businesses warm and set a record on Saturday, Jan. 6 for the highest demand ever in a 24-hour period. Sunday, Jan. 7 was the second highest.

What does this mean for customer bills? It means that many customers will see bills that are higher, possibly much higher, than expected as their heating systems strained to keep pace with demand, drawing higher amounts of electricity to keep running.

At the same time, severe constraints on the pipelines serving Virginia caused record spikes in the price of natural gas, which will ultimately result in even higher electric bills for customers later this year.

Therefore customers will see higher bills now because they used more, and later, because the energy they used was more expensive than ever. By law, these fuel costs must be passed on to customers.

It also means that you may start to hear from customers in the coming days and weeks about their bills—worried the bills are incorrect or that they can’t afford to pay them.

You can help your audience and us by doing two things—helping them understand that the weather is the big driver behind high bills, and letting them know that we want to help them work out a payment solution, should they need one. We offer payment extensions, long-term payment plans, and bill payment assistance to help get them through a rough spot. All our customers need to do is go onto their online account for help or call 866-DOM-HELP. For more information about payment arrangements, click here. For info about EnergyShare, click here.

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