Our Communities

DE&I Efforts Organization-Wide

Social and economic justice matter.

Whether we’re providing financial assistance, conducting Environmental Justice assessments, or helping rural communities bridge the digital divide, we strive to increase equity in the diverse communities we serve.

Other Efforts

We put DE&I into action in other ways, too. For example, we cultivate equity through programs such as EnergyShare — a program in Virginia, Ohio, and the Carolinas that provides those who are struggling financially with the resources they need to meet the costs of heating and cooling their homes. Since 2016, the program has more than doubled, from $8 million to more than $18 million. In 2020, Dominion Energy partnered with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation to expand the EnergyShare program, committing $1 million to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through our partnership with the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, EnergyShare helps low-income senior citizens in Virginia stay cool during the summer months by providing single-room air conditioners at no cost. In addition, EnergyShare contributes to the Operation Fan and Heat Relief program administered by North Carolina’s Division of Aging and Adult Services, which provides fans and air conditioners to the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions. We also help customers with much-needed home repairs, making their homes safer, more comfortable, and energy-efficient through numerous residential and commercial programs such as EnergyShare, ThermWise (in our Western-state operations), and Housewarming (in Ohio).

In Utah and Idaho, we work with the Salvation Army to help individuals pay their gas bill through the REACH (Residential Assistance through Community Help) program. In Connecticut, Operation Fuel provides year-round emergency energy assistance to every city and town, aided by our statewide network of local fuel banks.

The Good Neighbor Fund in South Carolina is a non-profit organization funded by South Carolina and North Carolina employees (and the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation) who are committed to providing financial assistance to needy families facing unexpected tragedies or emergencies.

We also engage with a vast array of stakeholders regularly throughout the year and listen carefully to their concerns during hundreds of public meetings, open houses, special events, and meetings with government officials, nonprofits, and the media. We provide materials in other languages to better serve communities where English is less common, and internalize customer feedback through focus groups, social media, call-center input, and other means.

Our company has a formal Environmental Justice policy, which ensures that historically marginalized communities are neither disproportionately harmed by our infrastructure projects nor excluded from those projects’ economic benefits. Since we adopted the policy in 2018, we have trained more than 500 colleagues on Environmental Justice (EJ) concerns. We review all major projects for potential environmental justice considerations; in 2020, that led to more than 50 EJ reviews. We also are committed to going beyond statutory obligations when consulting with federally recognized Native American tribes so we can develop meaningful and long-lasting relationships.

The transition to a clean-energy economy must be a just one in which costs are not borne disproportionately by any one group, least of all the most vulnerable. The “just transition” is a framework to ensure equity for employees and communities as we pivot from a carbon-intensive economy to a more sustainable future. According to the Just Transition Alliance, the principle of just transition is that a healthy economy and a clean environment can and should co-exist. It is important that each colleague has the opportunity, means, and training to obtain energy jobs of the future as we retire some of our generation facilities. We offer extensive learning and development resources so that employees can enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities, or even explore new career paths. Such resources include internal career counseling services as well as self-directed, online learning platforms. While we are committed to making the energy system as clean as we can, as fast as we can, we recognize the imperative not to sacrifice affordability for the sake of speed. The energy transition cannot be just if the cost of energy does not remain affordable.

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RURAL BROADBAND

In today’s world, reliable high-speed internet access is a necessity. As the pandemic has illustrated, lack of access can cut people off from school and work, curtail the opportunity to apply for jobs, make getting medical care more difficult, and put roadblocks in the way of even ordinary life activities such as paying bills. Unfortunately, internet access remains unavailable to many, particularly in rural areas where low population densities make normal internet service uneconomical for service providers. To ensure equitable access for all, Dominion Energy Virginia has begun a rural-broadband program. As we transform the electric grid, we are installing crucial fiber-optic cable in rural areas to bring high-speed internet to unserved communities.

We operate a strategic-undergrounding program to improve reliability by placing the most outage-prone tap lines (overhead neighborhood wires) underground. Since we launched the program in 2014, we have buried more than 1,600 miles of line and prevented more than 2,200 outages per year. The program benefits all customers, not just those closest to tap lines, because reducing outages in one area frees up repair crews to restore service elsewhere. We monitor the program for unintentional bias or disparate impact during various stages of the process, and metrics for both income and ethnicity show no pattern of disparate treatment.

For more about our Environmental Justice, tribal relations, rural broadband, and strategic undergrounding efforts, see our latest Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report.