Rain or shine, on the front lines or behind the scenes, Dominion Virginia Power has made steady progress throughout 2016 to provide reliable, affordable service, and invest in new technologies for a cleaner and brighter future.
"Throughout 2016, we have continued to invest in modernizing and strengthening the energy grid to make our service more reliable. As a result, customers have seen an average of 10 percent improvement in reliability since 2011 when measured by minutes without power," said Robert M. Blue, chief executive officer and president of Dominion Virginia Power, in his annual letter to the company's 2.5 million electric customers.
"We aim to continually improve reliability because every minute our customers are without power matters," said Blue. "In major events, we mobilize our dedicated employees to restore power as quickly and safely as possible."
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew brought about the most widespread power outages Dominion has had since 2012. When the storm changed path and impacted the company's service territory, Dominion quickly amassed a restoration team of several thousand people who worked around the clock to return life back to normal.
"At Dominion, we understand the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and protecting the health and safety of the public," said Blue. Since 2000, Dominion has reduced the company's carbon intensity rate (the average CO2 emissions rate per unit of electric output) by 43 percent companywide. Dominion also is an industry leader in shifting the company's coal fleet toward cleaner alternatives, including the closure of all the company's coal ash ponds by 2019, four years ahead of the federal requirement.
"Improving fleet performance has helped cut the cost of fuel, lower rates, and increase reliability. We keep costs down by investing in the efficiency of our generation fleet," said Blue.
In April 2016, Dominion began operating Brunswick County Power Station, a combined cycle facility that operates as one of the most efficient stations in the country. Power Engineering Magazine awarded Dominion with top honors for the station, including Best Overall Generation Project of the Year and Best Gas-Fired Project of the Year.
Brunswick is one of several new gas-powered stations Dominion is building to replace aging coal-fired power stations and meet the need for clean, reliable energy. The station's efficient design and low cost of natural gas are expected to provide an estimated $100 million in fuel savings to customers in its first year of operation and between $954 million and $1.5 billion over the life of the station.
Dominion also has worked this past year to keep costs low for customers, with typical electric rates being significantly lower than the national average. See https://www.dom.com/varates for rate comparisons.
These efforts have been recognized within the industry. In 2015 Fortune magazine ranked Dominion No. 1 overall among its electric utility peers for innovation, social responsibility, and quality of service.
"Although we confront major challenges in the ever-changing energy landscape, our main goal is always our dedication to serving our customers," said Blue.
In addition to Dominion's commitment to reliability and sustainability, Dominion continued its steady focus on corporate citizenship and improving communities. Forbes magazine named Dominion as one of the "Just 100" best corporate citizens of the United States in 2016.