HAMPTON, Va. — Editor's Note: The above video is our original report on Thomas Hooks' energy bill issues from March 2022.
Thomas Hooks' home in Hampton may just be the most energy-efficient one on the block.
But it wasn’t always that way.
“They’ve been here day and night working to get this trailer fixed and make sure our energy bill is down, which it is now," Hooks said.
Hooks called 13News Now Investigates after a couple of months of unusually high energy bills this past winter. Their HVAC was broken, so they relied on space heaters through the cold months, one of which even caught fire.
This was an issue of money and safety, so we called Dominion Energy who then stepped up to help.
“We came out here and got what needed to be done so that he can be comfortable in his home," said Nikki Taylor, manager of the EnergyShare program at Dominion Energy.
Taylor said they ordered an energy audit of the home before they decided to replace the HVAC and winterize the crawl space. They determined the December and January bills, which totaled more than $700 to heat the modest mobile home, were the result of the broken HVAC unit, poor insulation, and the use of space heaters.
The fixes cost more than $10,000 but Hooks doesn’t have to pay a dime thanks to the EnergyShare program which was designed for cases just like this.
“We are a program of last resort, but we assist individuals who are experiencing financial crisis, potentially with their energy bills," Taylor said.
Art Mowry and his team at Atlantic Spray Systems did much of the work.
“A lot of people can’t afford to do something like this. The bottom line is, without the help of somebody like Dominion stepping in," Mowry said.
"He’s not going to have any issues for a long time."
In addition to the new HVAC, Hooks has brand new ductwork, insulation and skirting along the home. Mowry even installed new railing along Hooks' porch to make it a safer space for children.
“You can already tell with some of the fixes they made that this bill is going down," Hooks said. “13News really helped out and that’s the reason why this is happening and became a success story.”
Hooks extended his gratitude to Dominion Energy, Atlantic Spray Systems, and the other subcontractors who helped ensure his family now has an energy-efficient home equipped for the extremes of Coastal Virginia weather.
DO YOU QUALIFY FOR THE ENERGYSHARE PROGRAM?
EnergyShare is Dominion Energy's assistance program that helps qualified customers with bill assistance and winterization upgrades.
The program is not income-based; rather it is designed to help anyone in danger of losing their heating or cooling source. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis and requires a screening process. To apply, call 2-1-1 or visit 211virginia.org for a referral to your local EnergyShare agency.