RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
- Near-hurricane conditions strike Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton Road regions
- Power restored to 180,000 of 335,000 customers affected statewide by high winds, flooding
- Restoration work expected to last several days; virtually all completed by Sunday night
- Focus is on public safety, critical infrastructure
Dominion Virginia Power crews have restored electric service to nearly 180,000 of the 335,000 customers affected by severe weather that arrived Wednesday. Conditions included near-hurricane force winds along the coast and flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida combined with a nor'easter.
More than 250,000 customer accounts in the Tidewater area lost power, including 120,000 within a two-hour period that began at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. During that time, a burst of intense wind and rain pounded the area with winds gusting to more than 70 miles per hour and flooding approaching the levels last seen with Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
"We are focused on getting the lights back on for our customers as safely and quickly as possible," said Rodney Blevins, vice president of distribution for Dominion Virginia Power. "While we are well-prepared for storms, the scope and severity of the damage make this especially challenging," Blevins said. Storm restoration information is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/index.jsp.
"Working conditions are hazardous, making safety the highest priority. Please stay clear of downed lines and use extreme caution if you must be on the roads where downed trees and flooding could be affecting traffic patterns," Blevins said.
Dominion expects to restore power to virtually all affected customers by Sunday night. Additional time will be required for homes that are inaccessible, damaged by flooding or otherwise physically not capable of having service restored, or for late-arriving reports of outages at unoccupied vacation homes.
Information about electric service restoration times is available on Dominion's interactive online outage viewer by visiting www.dom.com and searching for "outage viewer," or by following this link: http://outagemap.dom.com/DomComFlexOutageViewer/index.html.
Repair crews and support personnel have been deployed to the affected areas and will focus on critical infrastructure and damage assessment in very difficult working conditions that may limit Dominion's ability to restore electric service. Falling trees and limbs caused most of the damage, in many cases forcing tree crews to clear debris before line crews can restore power. Flooding also is making many locations temporarily inaccessible.
Critical infrastructure circuits have top priority. These power lines bring electricity to hospitals, water pumping stations, police and fire departments, and other emergency facility locations. Dominion restores power to these locations as quickly as possible. After critical infrastructure circuits are restored, efforts focus on restoring power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest amount of time. A video description of the storm restoration process is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/how-we-restore-power.jsp.
The company is cautioning customers to stay clear of downed power lines and report them by calling Dominion Customer Service Center at toll free 1-888-667-3000.
If your electricity was interrupted:
- Do not rely on your neighbors to report your outage. Call Dominion at 1-888-667-3000.
- Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires as though they are energized, and report them by calling Dominion at 1-888-667-3000.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Do not hook portable generators directly to the electrical system of your residence. Electricity could flow backward onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. Either have a qualified electrician perform the work or plug directly into the generator with the proper-sized extension cords.
- If using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, ensure the area is adequately ventilated.
- Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call Dominion toll-free at 1-888-667-3000.
- Turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to the appliance and possible overloads to the company's system when power is restored.
- Leave one lamp or light on so you will know when power is restored.
- Listen to your local radio station on your car or battery-powered radio for regular news and weather updates.
- Additional information on a wide range of electrical safety topics is available online at http://www.dom.com/about/safety/index.jsp.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage systems and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
SOURCE: Dominion Virginia Power
Web site: http://www.dom.com/