RICHMOND, Va., Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With Hurricane Irene approaching, Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power are readying repair crews and preparing equipment for emergency restoration work over the next several days. The company is asking its customers, especially those in coastal areas, to take steps to brace for the storm.
"This storm has serious potential to cause widespread damage," said Rodney Blevins, vice president-Distribution Operations for Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power. "We are geared up to handle any situation as quickly and safely as possible. We are treating Hurricane Irene seriously, and we urge our customers to monitor local weather forecasts for changing conditions in order to remain safe."
Dominion reminds its customers to call toll free 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) in the event of outages or downed lines. The company's outage reporting system, which consists of call-center representatives as well as an automated voice response unit, can handle up to 100,000 calls an hour. Using the voice response unit is the quickest way to report an outage or downed power line.
Dominion will update its website, www.dom.com, with information about the storm. A Twitter feed (@domvapower) and Facebook page (Dominion Virginia Power) also are available.
Dominion urges its customers to pay attention to weather reports and to take these common-sense steps to prepare for possible outages:
- Before a storm arrives, establish an online account with Dominion at www.dom.com (keyword: MYA) so you can easily report an outage if it occurs and obtain outage updates online without having to call in (keyword: reporting outages).
- Also be sure the telephone number and other information related to your account are up to date. This includes providing a cell phone number if that is the phone you would use to report an outage or other problem. This simple step will ensure immediate access of your account for faster reporting without having to speak to someone. Phone numbers can be updated online or by calling our special phone number update line at 1-800-222-0401.
- Have emergency supplies such as water, flashlights, radios, extra batteries, medicine, cash and other critical items stashed away beforehand.
- Have a plan for how you and your family will stay safe, how you will evacuate if necessary and where you might go. Also consider who else you might need to check on during an emergency.
- Stay informed during the emergency through news reports and official information.
A video showing how Dominion prepares for severe storms and outage restoration is available online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S51-6cW7uCE.
Information specific on how to prepare for storms and potential power outages is available at Dominion's website at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/index.jsp.
Since hurricanes are a threat in Virginia and North Carolina, the company suggests customers pay attention to weather reports including those provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If severe weather is expected, take these steps to prepare for possible outages:
Preparing for the storm
- Read the hurricane evacuation guidelines available at the Virginia Department of Transportation's website: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane_default.asp and at the North Carolina Department of Transportation website: http://www.ncdot.gov/travel/evacuationmaps/#inpagenav_1
- Develop an emergency plan that addresses any special medical needs you have. Information is available on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's website at: http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes
- Make sure you have a battery-operated radio, multiple flashlights and a battery-operated clock and fan, along with extra batteries.
- Have at least three gallons of fresh water per person on hand. This is especially important for those who rely on well water.
- Have a good supply of canned and other non-refrigerated foods available.
- If you have pets, make sure you have provided for them, as well.
During the storm, if electricity is interrupted
- 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 appliances and possible overloads to the company's system when power is restored.
- Post a list of contents on your freezer door to minimize the number of times you open it.
- Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
- If using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, ensure that the area is adequately ventilated.
After the storm
- Listen to your local radio station on your car or battery-powered radio for regular news and weather updates. Don't rely on your neighbors to report your outage. Call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
- Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
- Do not connect portable generators directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backward onto Dominion's power lines and endanger lives. Either have a qualified electrician perform the work or plug appliances directly into the generator using the proper-sized extension cords.
- Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide and can be deadly, so run your generator outside with proper ventilation. Store the fuel for your generator safely.
- Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP.
Some useful links for the public and media during the summer storm season:
Dominion (NYSE:D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,200 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
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SOURCE: Dominion Virginia Power