December 4, 2002
RICHMOND, Va. - Dominion Virginia Power mobilized a team of about 2,200 field forces Wednesday in preparation for an icy winter storm expected to roll through Central Virginia.
While much of the company's service area may be coated with winter weather, snow poses less of a threat to power systems than freezing rain. Ice accumulations add substantial weight to power lines, utility poles, supporting crossarms and especially tree branches, causing them to bend into and knock down power lines and poles.
Dominion is cautioning customers in those areas predicted to be hit by freezing rain that such storms may cause enough damage to result in extensive, lengthy outages. Customers are urged to be aware especially of elderly relatives and neighbors during an outage. Pets, too, also may require extra attention.
Customers are warned to stay away from downed power lines. To report power outages or downed power lines, customers should call Dominion Virginia Power's Customer Service Center at toll free 1-888-667-3000. Calling this number and using the company's computerized outage reporting system, which can handle 100,000 calls per hour, is the fastest and most efficient way to report a power outage.
Customers can minimize the impact of power outages by preparing in advance:
- Have several flashlights in good working condition around the house and kept in places where you can easily find them in the dark. Make sure you have fresh batteries on hand as well.
- Have several blankets on hand. Two or three layers of medium to lightweight bed coverings will keep you warmer than a single heavy quilt. The same principle applies to clothing.
- If you use computers or other sensitive electronic equipment, you may wish to equip them with surge suppressors or other devices to protect them from the power fluctuations that may accompany outages.
- If your water is pumped by electricity, fill bathtubs, bottles and other containers with water before a storm.
- You can burn wood or coal in a fireplace or stove to help keep warm. But do not start a fire until the house temperature has dropped noticeably.
Dominion has a diversified and integrated energy portfolio consisting of about 24,000 megawatts of generation. Dominion also serves more than 3.8 million franchise natural gas and electric customers in five states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
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Corporate MediaLine, (804) 771-6115
Central Virginia MediaLine, (804) 755-5400
Eastern Virginia MediaLine, (757) 857-2700
Northwestern Virginia MediaLine, (703) 796-9308
Visit our Storm Center for an outage map and additional information.