Utility Allowances & What They Mean for You

As you have probably heard by now, you will be responsible for paying your electric bill in the new building. This means that the electricity you use for lights, cooking, heating, and cooling your apartment will be billed to you individually each month by the utility company.

The good news is that you will also benefit from a utility allowance, which is calculated by Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA). The numbers are based on average utility costs for each unit size and are regularly adjusted based on real data in the county.

The utility allowance will be deducted from the amount of rent that you owe, not from the portion of your rent covered by your voucher. So, while you will have a new monthly cost, it will be balanced out by lower rent in the new building.

An example:

  • Your annual income is calculated at $24,000

  • Your monthly income is $2,000.

  • Currently you would be paying 30% of your income for rent or $600.

  • As a bonus your utilities are currently paid by the owner so your total housing costs is $600

  • Now, under the new program here is what will happen:

  • Your annual income is calculated at $24,000

  • Your monthly income is $2,000.

  • You would still be paying 30% of your income for rent or $600, however we will then deduct the current rate for utility allowance (in our scenario this is for a 1 bedroom) of $59.

  • So now your rent is $541. You will need to take the $59 to pay your monthly utility bill.

Please note, if you use more than the average county usage, you will be responsible to pay for the additional expenses above and beyond the utility allowance. However, if you use less, you will have monthly savings. So, it is important that you are mindful of the utilities you use.

The utility allowance is not a cash payment to you, it is simply a deduction from who much of your rent you will need to pay. You will be responsible for paying your electric bill directly to Dominion each month.

You will not be paying for water, sewer, trash, or gas. These costs will continue to be covered by building ownership.

So why are we asking residents to pay for electricity in the new building? There are several reasons:

  • The new building will be very energy efficient compared to the current Lake Anne Fellowship House. A combination of new technology and increased insulation measures will help to regulate temperature at lower costs.

  • Most importantly, you will now be able to program your own thermostat to your preferred temperature and schedules, and

  • Finally, it means that a breakdown in air conditioning or heating equipment will only impact one unit at a time, not potentially a large group of units.

The relocation and resident services team will help you to sign up for your new electric account with Dominion next spring, as we prepare for your moves. There will be more communication and education as we move through the next year. Please note: there is no need for you to do anything right now.

Please reach out to property management or send a message via the Contact Us page with any questions!

Share on
Jul 23