Virginia electric rates are among the highest in the south, and are higher than all but one neighboring states. Those rates, combined with low efficiency levels, mean Virginia ratepayers pay monthly electric bills that are among the very highest in the country. Energy efficiency is a significant opportunity to lower the costs-of-living for Virginia ratepayers, and their own electric utilities are often in the best position to offer those efficiency improvements to their customers. Our previous Virginia analysis found increased efficiency could reduce Virginia ratepayers’ bills by an average of 12% – or over $15 per month for the average customer of Virginia’s largest utility.
Energy efficiency is not only a readily available, bill-lowering resource across all sectors of the economy, it’s a significantly less expensive resource for meeting the economy’s energy needs than building new power generation. A survey of energy efficiency across 20 states found the average cost of saved energy via improved efficiency to be $28 per megawatt hour (MWh), or 2.8 cents per kilowatt hour, significantly lower than the $42-$55 per MWh cost of Virginia’s largest source of electricity, gas plants. And as the cost of natural gas – Virginia’s primary fuel for power plants – rises, the cost savings from energy efficiency for Virginia ratepayers will likely increase.