Virginia Energy Choice is the Commonwealth’s statewide consumer education program, under the guidance of the State Corporation Commission (SCC), to inform Virginians about the new way they will be purchasing electricity and natural gas.
The campaign – which includes this website, a toll-free number, grassroots outreach and community education, educational materials, and advertising – will help you take control of the process so you can make an informed decision when competing energy suppliers begin to make offers in your area.
The State Corporation Commission is the state government entity that oversees the state’s utilities. In addition to educating consumers about energy choice, the SCC will work to ensure that Virginians receive quality service, that regulated companies meet their obligations to the public, and that consumer disputes with regulated companies are handled appropriately. For information about the SCC, call 1-800-552-7945 or visit the SCC’s website.
Currently, one local utility company has the exclusive right to provide all the parts of electricity or natural gas service — generation/supply, transmission, and distribution. In the future, many different companies may compete to provide your generation/supply service, thus allowing you to shop for energy services.
Who Will Supply Electricity and Natural Gas?
You will have the opportunity to choose your energy supplier. These suppliers are called competitive service providers, and must be licensed by the SCC. Competitive service providers are companies that generate, produce, or contract for your electricity or your natural gas for delivery to your local utility. The price for the supply of energy is not regulated. You will now be able to compare the rate you pay for your energy with the rates offered by other competitive service providers.
How Will Energy Choice Affect Prices?
No one can guarantee that everyone will save money in a developing competitive marketplace. But if you understand what to look for, you will be able to take advantage of any savings that may be available to you. Having more control over your decision will make it easier to choose based on what’s most important to you – like customer service, a name you know, the products offered, and the resulting price.
How Will Energy Be Delivered?
Whether or not you decide to choose a new competitive service provider, distribution service, the actual delivery of electricity and natural gas to your home or business, will still be provided by your local utility. The utility will remain as your local distribution company (LDC), and a charge for delivery service will still appear on your bill. Delivery will still be regulated to ensure the safe, reliable delivery service you’ve always had. And you will continue to notify your local distribution company about safety issues or service interruptions.
When Does Energy Choice Begin?
Consumers in some parts of Virginia are already able to choose their providers, while most others will wait until energy choice rolls out across the state over the next several years. Click here for the current phase-in timeline.
What Will Energy Bills Look Like?
No matter who your energy supplier is, your energy bill will look different. It will contain new information, including your monthly consumption for the previous 12 months and a description of all charges. Price to compare information may appear on your monthly bill. It is a benchmark to help you compare what you currently pay for electricity or natural gas supply service with any competitive offers that you receive. For some customers, the price to compare is an annual average for a typical customer. If it does not appear on your bill, contact your local distribution company for your individual price to compare. Click here for more information about your energy bill.
For additional information, please call Virginia Energy Choice toll-free at 1-877-YES2004, e-mail Virginia Energy Choice, or write Virginia Energy Choice c/o State Corporation Commission, P.O. Box 1197, Richmond, Virginia 23218.