While Maryland customers constantly complain about losing power, I am pleased to report that our electric Company, Dominion, is on the ball. Sure, they don’t always make us happy, but the Dominion Power consistency of delivery and price is amongst the best in the nation. This is because they are spending $200Million+ each year on reliability improvements- mostly tree trimming. Trees and limbs falling on lines is the number one reason for outages. Other activities include replacing wires and old equipment such as transformers that are over loaded.
Virginia is also home to a large amount of “renewable” energy systems that Dominion has put in place. The wind farms in the West Virginia Mountains supply power to Virginia. They can power 62,000 homes. Of course the problem with wind is that it only works when it is windy, so it is at full capacity only 30% of the time. Dominion has three biomass conversions plants. They mostly burn wood chips left over from lumbering activities. Biomass is also often done with switch grass. They produce a total of 153 Mega Watts. Each MW powers 250 homes, so these biomass facilities power the equivalent of 38,250 homes. In the future, Dominion is looking toward solar power. There is an application with the State Corporation Commission to build a 33 MW facility. The problem with solar power at our latitude and climate is that it will only be available 20% of the time. Therefore, Dominion is presently pursuing grants for offshore wind.
Most interesting to my constituents is that Dominion Powers rates are about 20% lower than the National Average!