Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Public Hearing: Multifamily Residential Facilities Load Management Incentive Program

A public hearing was held Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, at the Department of Public Utilities' Operations Center on Jefferson Davis Highway to receive public comment on a proposed amendment to the Department's rules and regulations concerning the City of Richmond gas utility's Multifamily Residential Facilities Load Management Incentive Program.

Written comments can be submitted by close of business, Wednesday, Sept. 10 by email or to the Director of Public Utilities, 730 E. Broad Street, 6th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219.

The purpose of the incentive program is to promote the more efficient use of the city's gas utility supply and distribution resources and to maintain or decrease the unit cost of natural gas service within the service area. A multifamily residential facility is defined as more than 20 dwelling units having one street address and sharing one foundation footprint.

Owners of eligible existing facilities within the service area cab apply for the incentive program to convert existing equipment to gas or to install gas equipment into new construction.

For more information, call 804-646-5250 or visit www.dpu-natgas.com


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Customer Photos!

Ivory Randolph is ready to cook with natural gas. During the winter, she says her radiator heat keeps her apartment warm for days without adjusting the thermostat.

Calvin and Myra Pugh of Glen Allen enjoy roating bell peppers on their natural gas stove.

Wendy Rivera thinks her natural gas stone is quicker and prettier than an electric stove.

Robert and Pamela Goetz of Glen Allen gave each other a natural gas hot water heater as a Valentine Day present.

Concerned about Lead in Your Drinking Water?

Although the water that flows through your pipes is safe, homes built prior to the mid-1980s may contain lead piping or lead soldering of copper pipes that may lead to small amounts of lead being deposited into the water that comes into your home. 

In accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mandate, DPU does residential lead testing every three years. The majority of these samples show lead levels in DPU’s service area well below the minimum levels as dictated by the EPA. 

1. WHAT ARE THE HEALTH EFFECTS OF LEAD? Adults who drink water containing traces of lead, over many years, could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. 


2. WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF LEAD? Lead is a common metal found in some household products. For most children, the primary sources of lead exposure are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil. 

3. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT LEAD IN MY DRINKING WATER? Lead soldering of pipes was banned in 1986. If your home was built prior to 1986, have a licensed plumber or private home inspector inspect the lines, or have your water tested for lead levels. New brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead into drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8 percent lead to be labeled as “lead-free.” 

4. WHAT CAN I DO TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO LEAD IN DRINKING WATER? If you have lead piping or lead soldering of your pipes, flushing tap water is a simple and inexpensive measure you can take to protect your family’s health. It uses less than one or two gallons of water and costs less than 42 cents per month to follow this practice regularly. After your water has been sitting in your home’s pipes for several hours—for instance in the morning, or when you return from work or a trip away from home—you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking. Run the tap until the water becomes noticeably colder to the touch. 

The water that runs from drinking water taps does not have to be wasted. You can use this water for cleaning or for watering plants. You may want to keep a container of drinking water in your refrigerator, so you don’t have to run water every time you need it. Avoid cooking with or drinking water from the hot water tap. Hot water dissolves lead deposits. To heat water for cooking or drinking, draw it from the cold tap and heat it on the stove.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit the National Sanitation Foundation website at www.nsf.org to learn more about plumbing fixtures that contain lead. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead, call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider. 


Consumer Confidence Reports on water quality are made available annually to City of Richmond customers by the Department of Public Utilities and contain information on lead and copper levels. Email dpuc@richmondgov.com to receive the latest copy or download it online at www.richmondgov.com/PublicUtilities/WaterQualityReports.aspx.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

City Adjusts Purchased Gas Cost

Beginning in August 2014, city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) natural gas customers will see their monthly bills adjusted to reflect an increase in the cost of the natural gas that DPU purchases on behalf of its customers. This is the first “purchased gas cost” adjustment for the natural gas utility since 2012. By law, the price paid for natural gas is passed on dollar for dollar to customers without markup or profit. Following this adjustment, the typical total monthly residential bill will be a seasonal monthly amount of $41.88 compared to the current monthly bill of $34.63. This cost comparison is based on a 23 ccf seasonal monthly summer usage level. (A ccf is the measurement used for natural gas usage and is the equivalent of 100 cubic feet.)  


Similar to other gas companies in Virginia, this adjustment is in alignment with the overall stability of natural gas markets. Despite the fact that all energy sectors (electricity, heating oil, propane) are experiencing rising prices, natural gas still prevails as the most efficient and economical choice of fuel for home heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying. The June 10, 2014 U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook projects a return to near-normal weather conditions and lower residential and commercial consumption. Before entering the heating season, DPU will review and adjust the gas costs on a quarterly basis to reflect the price the company pays for natural gas.

DPU offers information and programs year round to encourage customers to effectively manage utility bills. Programs and initiatives to assist customers with preparing for PGC adjustments include:

·         The Equal Monthly Payment Program (EMPP), which spreads payments evenly over 12 months, and other convenient payment plans. The EMPP works well because the annual customer bill is used to calculate an equal payment amount that spreads the cost over the entire year and allows customers to develop a monthly energy budget. Call DPU’s Customer Care Center at (804) 646-7000 for more information.


·         Beginning Dec.15, 2014, residents in DPU's service territory may apply for funds through the City's MetroCare Program.  This heating bill paying assistance program provides funds to families and individuals who are having trouble paying their primary heating bills due to a financial difficulty or other special hardship.  For more information, call 804-646-7000.


·         DPU’s annual Senior Weatherization Kit Giveaway happens in Oct. 2014 at Pleasants Hardware. Weatherization is an easy and simple way to cut the cost of your energy bills. Other agencies such as the Department of Social Services, Senior Connections, and Human Services and the Office of Aging and Persons with Disabilities will be on hand to provide information and assistance.