Energy Deregulation in Virginia
Deregulated energy services: Electricity and natural gas.
Deregulated electricity service territories: Electric choice is only available for homeowners who choose to purchase 100% renewable energy.
Deregulated gas service territories: Columbia Gas, Washington Gas Light (WGL)
Virginia has deregulated both energy services: Natural gas was deregulated in 2001, and electricity was deregulated in 2007. However, there are only two cases where energy consumers can choose their electricity provider:
- Large consumers with a demand of over 5 megawatts.
- Homeowners who want to purchase 100% renewable energy can choose a provider, but only if their utility company cannot meet their requirements.
Virginia’s natural gas market is not subject to these types of restrictions. All energy consumers in the Columbia Gas and Washington Gas Light service territories can choose their providers. Virginia only has around 1% of proven US natural gas reserves, and local consumption is seven times higher than production. In other words, Virginia depends on gas imports via interstate pipelines to meet its energy needs.
Natural gas is used to generate 60% of Virginia’s electricity, nuclear power accounts for 30%, and the rest comes from coal and renewables. Around 33% of households use natural gas as their main heat source in Virginia, representing around 11% of statewide consumption. The industrial sector uses 15%, and the electric power sector is the top gas consumer by far with around 67% of usage.