Electric Conservation On a Roll Everywhere — Except Virginia

As the State Corporation Commission oversees the process of setting achievable conservation goals for Virginia — it is possible to cost-effectively cut 2006 levels of electricity consumption levels by 10 percent over the next 15 years? — will anyone be calling upon Commonwealth Edison, Progress Energy, Southern California Edison or FPL Group to testify?

Those are only some of the electric power companies, according to today’s Wall Street Journal, that are experimenting with programs to help customers conserve electricity. Notably, none of the companies mentioned serve Virginia markets. Nor, outside a handful of blogs and environmental groups, does anyone in Virginia seem to be raising the conservation issue.

Just so you know how increasingly out of step Virginia is, let me quote the first two paragraphs of the WSJ article:

Utilities are rolling out more programs than ever to help consumers cut their energy use, motivated by cost considerations, pressure from regulators and increased consumer acceptance. In doing so, they hope to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, forestall the need for building new plants and put a brake on rising electricity costs.

Moving beyond traditional rebate programs, utilities are putting sophisticated tools in consumers’ hands, such as online calculators, advanced electric meters, in-home displays, remote-control devices and innovative pricing plans. Some consumers say they’re changing their energy habits as a result, a task that can be time-consuming but which many people say they find rewarding.

In a voluntary program, Commonwealth Edison in Illinois charges consumers variable prices for electricity. Carolinas-based Progress Energy has set the goal of conserving 2,000 megawatts on electricity in the new few years, the equivalent to four big power plants. Southern California Edison has signed up a thousand technicians to offer air-conditioning tune-ups. FPL Group in Florida is unveiling an Internet tool that lets small business owners calculate how much energy different processes and equipment use.

Virginia has just signed into law legislation that will encourage electric utilities to meet growing demand for electricity mainly by building more power plants and transmission lines, with barely a nod to conservation and renewable energy. A goal of 10 percent conservation over 15 years is purely nominal. What a shame.

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4 responses to “Electric Conservation On a Roll Everywhere — Except Virginia”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    There ARE a few voices in the wilderness in Virginia.

    My own power provider – the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative is actually asking it’s customers about Green energy.

    1. Which is more important to you personally, the cost of Green Power or the Source of Green Power? (i.e. Wind, Solar, Biomass, etc.)

    2. Green Power is typically sold in 100 kWh blocks (about 1/10th of the typical homes monthly usage). How much more would you personally be willing to pay for a single 100 kWh block of Green Power?
    $0(nothing) $1 $2 $3-$5 over $5

    3. Green Power costs more to produce than traditional power sources. How do you think this should be paid for?
    a. By everyone
    b. Available for extra cost

    4. How much more would you personally be willing to pay on your total electric bill each month to purchase green power?
    $0(nothing) $0-$5 $5-$10 $10-$20 over $20 per month

    5. If given a choice between purchasing solar power at an additional $7 per 100 kWh block or, landfill gas at $2 more per 100 kWh block, which would you choose?

    Solar at $7 per block
    Landfill gas at $2 per block

    6. How many 100 kWh blocks would you personally sign up for each month?
    None 1 2 3-5 More than 5


    Pehaps JB could contact them for the POLL results… 🙂

  2. Groveton Avatar


    There is rarely an issue where I completely agree with you but this is one.

    When I was younger I remember the environmentalists talking about the next ice age. Now it’s global warmning. Who knows?

    However, the cost of traditional energy sources is rising and will continue to rise.


    Companies and locations that can use conservation to avoid some of the rising costs of energy will be at an economic advantage. And, as always, I want to see Virginia at an economic advantage.

    If this makes the liberals happy because it means Virginia produces less greenhouse gas – great!

    If this makes the conservatives happy because it means Virginia will help make the US less dependent on foreign oil – great!

    It will make me happy beacuse it will help keep the Virginia economy growing.

    For once, an issue that should have “multi-partisan” support.

    Regarding Larry Gross’ questionaire from Rappahannock Power – interesting. However, I’d make one change to Rappahannock’s approach. I’d offer a guaranteed lower price to those who chose the alternative energy options now. You’d have to sign uo for several years of alternate energy but you’d get a guaranteed price for that energy. When, not if, the price of oil hits $100 / barrel every form of energy will get more expensive. These prices may look cheap then. And Rappahannock needs some cash flow now to get these programs up and running. If oil prices do what I think they will – this is good for the consumer (in the mid term), good, for Rappahannock (in the mid term), good for the environment (immediately) and good for Virginia (in the mide term).

    Also, it is unfair to say that this issue has gotten no notice. Margi Vanderhye – candidate for House of Delegates from the 34th district has made conservation and alternate fuel use in Virginia one of her campaign planks. In fact, she authored a column on Bacon’s Rebellion a few momths ago making her points quite clearly on this matter. Apparently, she puts her money where he mouth is by signing up personally for cleaner, more expensive alternate energy.

    Subsequent to her Bacon’s Rebellion article Ms. Vanderhye has won her primary contest against Richard Sullivan. She now stands in the general election against Republican Dave Hunt.

    I struggle with Ms. Vanderhye’s lack of interest (so far) in taxes and tax equity. However, her position on alternate energy in Virginia has been clear, firm and public. Good for her on that count.

  3. Not Tommy Edison Avatar
    Not Tommy Edison

    Why am I not surprised. Have you taken a look at Dominion virginia Power’s lobbying expenses? Who in the legislature stands up to them?

  4. chalacuna Avatar

    wether we like it or not, fuel prices will keep on rising. so many factors pointed out which contributes to the crises. the main reason is simply the law of supply and demand.

    the major oil players like OPEC are very smart that they are able to control the supply to make an artificial demand.

    the best we can do is to conserve fuel by using less or none at all. stay away from those luxury cars..

    Hybrid SUV and
    Renewable Fuel Source

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