RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Small business and residential customers facing financial hardship can now receive support on their energy bills through Dominion Energy's industry-leading EnergyShare program. Dominion Energy is supplementing its $13 million annual program contribution in Virginia with $1 million this year to further help customers in need of bill assistance, due to coronavirus impacts. Small businesses, nonprofits, and houses of worship will be eligible for $500,000, while the remaining $500,000 will be reserved for residential customers.
For small businesses, a temporary Small Business Relief Program will offer one-time assistance of up to $1,000 toward unpaid Dominion Energy Virginia electric bills that may have accrued during the pandemic. To ensure the funds reach those organizations most in need, Dominion Energy is announcing a partnership with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which is establishing an advisory council, including representatives from:
The council will raise program awareness in the business community, review applications and award assistance to eligible businesses. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation will administer the program and United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg will manage distribution of funds, as they have done for EnergyShare since the program's inception in 1982. Support for nonprofits and houses of worship will also be administered through the Small Business Relief Program.
"While small businesses are focused on resuming their operations, bringing back their workforce, and prioritizing the health and safety of their customers and employees, the EnergyShare Small Business Relief Program lends a hand to those at the heart of our economy," said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. "The landscape continues to change due to the ongoing pandemic and many small businesses are in vital need of additional support – that is why the Virginia Chamber Foundation is proud to partner with Dominion Energy on this relief program."
Energy Share is funded with company contributions, an expense not recovered through customer rates, along with donations from employees, retirees and the public.
Starting Sept. 1, small business applications for EnergyShare will be available on the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation website: www.vachamber.com/foundation/small-business-relief-program. Applicants must submit their completed and e-signed application via e-mail to [email protected] for review; they will receive an e-mail with the assistance decision within 14 business days. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with a rolling application period until program funds are exhausted. Additional small business support is available in the form of on-site energy efficiency assessments, rebates for energy efficiency measures and other incentives for business improvements: www.dominionenergy.com/virginia/save-energy/small-business-improvement.
For residential customers, Dominion Energy's $500,000 increase in funds complements a June announcement, which raised the maximum benefit for the summer cooling season from $300 to $600 per residential account for the year and expanded program eligibility. Additionally, the company removed the requirement of a disconnect notice to qualify for the program. Residential customers can learn more about EnergyShare or find their local EnergyShare agency at www.dominionenergy.com/energyshare or by calling 2-1-1.
"For decades, EnergyShare has helped many in crisis get the financial help they need, and this pandemic has made it an even more crucial resource," said Robert Blue, co-chief operating officer and executive vice president, Dominion Energy Virginia. "If you're having trouble paying your bill, we want you to know we're here to help you find the best solution for your unique situation."
In response to the coronavirus, the company has halted disconnects and is waiving late fees for all customers. Customers also can access long-term payment plans, allowing up to 12 months to pay past due amounts with no minimum down payment. To learn more about Dominion Energy's coronavirus relief efforts, visit www.dominionenergy.com/company/coronavirus.
About Dominion Energy
More than 7 million customers in 20 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050. Please visit DominionEnergy.com to learn more.
About the Virginia Chamber Foundation
The Virginia Chamber Foundation tracks Virginia's economic competitiveness, conducts research and analysis, and hosts programs – connected to the priorities of Blueprint Virginia 2025. In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. In the fall of 2020, the Virginia Chamber will begin to cultivate policy recommendations and foster key discussions for the next update, Blueprint Virginia 2030. Learn more at vachamber.com/foundation.
About United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg
United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg empowers individuals and addresses systemic problems to provide everyone with a clear path to success. We do this by conducting research, funding programs and organizations, driving systems-level change and engaging with individuals in 11 localities across the region. Learn more at YourUnitedWay.org.
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SOURCE Dominion Energy