Governor McAuliffe to urge Dominion Power to boost energy-education outreach

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Courtesy Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Courtesy Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe will use an appearance in Virginia Beach today to challenge Dominion Virginia Power to double its outreach for educating consumers about reducing their energy use and bills, according to a spokesperson from his office.

The governor’s remarks are slated to come during an event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Vetshouse, Inc., 1154A and 1154B Carver Ave. Housing advocates and Dominion Virginia Power will join forces there to weatherize two duplexes. VetsHouse is a Virginia Beach-based nonprofit serving homeless veterans in Hampton Roads.

“It will help reduce consumers’ energy bills,” Brian Coy, spokesman for Gov. McAuliffe, said in a phone interview about the governor’s planned request. “It’s good for them and good for the Commonwealth. And it will help our efforts to make Virginia a leader in the fight to cut carbon pollution.”

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms is also set to be on hand, according to a Dominion release.

During the event, representatives from Dominion and STOP Inc., a community action agency serving Hampton Roads, will perform services such as weather stripping doors, wrapping hot water heaters and pipes and installing energy-saver shower heads, according to a release from Dominion. They will also do some landscaping and assist with drainage issues. Neighborhood residents will also receive energy efficiency kits and have the opportunity to find out energy saving techniques, the release said.

The governor’s remarks will come one year after Dominion made a $57 million commitment to help customers, including veterans, who are struggling with bills. Specifically, the company vowed to expand its EnergyShare program, beginning Sept. 1, 2015, and provide more bill assistance and long-term energy-efficiency improvements for qualified customers, focusing on military veterans and people with disabilities.

EnergyShare has provided bill payment assistance to Virginia residents facing a personal or family crisis since 1982, according to Dominion Energy Share’s July 1, 2016 annual report. To date, 500 veterans and 940 individuals living with disabilities have received bill assistance from EnergyShare, according to the report; in addition, 1,600  single- and multi-family homes have been made more energy efficient, and Dominion representatives and volunteers have participated in 140 outreach events to encourage residents to make wise energy-saving decisions.

Vetshouse Inc. assists homeless veterans with issues such as temporary living quarters and job hunting, according to its website.

STOP Inc., assists households at or below 125-percent of the poverty level as identified by the federal government. Its programs include housing counseling, a youth learning academy, crisis intervention and financial assistance for repairs for the elderly, according to its website.

Questions or comments? News tips? Hillary Smith can be reached at 757-490-2750 or via email at hillary@tideradio.com.

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