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Dominion increases energy bills to cover biomass conversion projects

In the US, Dominion Virginia Power's efforts to convert three of its coal-fired power plants to biomass-fired ones are costing its 18,000 customers an additional $0.14 (€0.10) a month.

The average domestic bill is now expected to reach $108.77 a month, up from $103.91, as Dominion charges an extra $4.86 per month to cover the utility's fuel costs, according to David Botkins, a Dominion Virginia Power spokesperson.

'We have a number of commodities to generate electricity,' says Botkins. 'Coal, uranium for nuclear plants, natural gas that power our gas stations and oil.'

Dominion is currently converting its plants in Southampton County, Altavista and Hopewell at a total cost of $165 million. When all three projects are completed in 2013, Dominion will use waste timber to generate enough renewable energy to power 37,500 homes.

However, when construction on the three power plants is finished, it is not yet clear if the $0.14 will be cut. 'It should decrease or go away completely,' says Botkins. 'I can't say that with complete certainty.'