Dominion Virginia Power Working to Restore Service to Customers Affected by Winter Storm

- Power to be restored to at least 90 percent of the 192,000 affected customers by Friday night
- Additional Dominion crews from Virginia, North Carolina helping in NoVA
- Heavy, wet snow challenges restoration efforts
- Estimated restoration times to be available tomorrow morning for all remaining repairs

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power crews are working hard to restore electric service to the Northern Virginia customers affected by a winter storm. The company expects to restore power to at least 90 percent of the affected customers by tomorrow night, with the remaining work continuing overnight into Saturday until all customers have been restored.

"We have about 2,000 workers engaged in our restoration effort, including crews from Eastern and Central Virginia and North Carolina assisting in Northern Virginia," said Rodney Blevins, vice president of electric distribution operations. More than 300 bucket trucks are working in Northern Virginia.    

"We are focused on getting the lights back on for our customers as safely and quickly as possible while maintaining safety as our first priority – safety of our customers and safety of our crews," Blevins said. "Please stay clear of downed lines and use extreme caution if you must be on the roads where snow, abandoned vehicles and downed trees could be affecting traffic patterns."  

Repairs are taking place while detailed damage assessments are being made. Heavy, sticky snow that was twice as wet as typical snow brought tree limbs and trees into contact with electrical lines and caused extremely difficult driving conditions for repair crews. Approximately 192,000 customers were affected by the storm.

An estimated completion time will be available Friday morning for each of the remaining repairs. Customers can request this information after noon tomorrow by calling Dominion's customer service line at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to learn when their homes will have power restored. Additional storm restoration information is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/index.jsp

Travel in Northern Virginia remains hazardous and Dominion's restoration efforts have been hampered by abandoned vehicles. More than 2,200 Virginia Department of Transportation trucks worked overnight clearing roads of snow and downed trees and assisting stranded motorists. Dominion is working closely with VDOT to resolve access issues.

The highest priority for power restoration is always given to public safety and emergency situations such as hospitals, emergency 911 call centers, and municipal water pumping stations. A video description of the storm restoration process is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/how-we-restore-power.jsp.

Dominion reminds its customers to stay away from downed power lines.  Customers should call toll free 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to report outages or downed lines. The calls will be answered either by call-center representatives or by an automated voice response unit, which is the quickest way to report an outage or downed power line. Customers who have online accounts can report outages online and ask to be contacted by telephone when outage restoration information becomes available.

In the event of severe weather, take these steps to help prepare for possible outages:

If your electricity is interrupted:

  • Call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to report an outage. Do not rely on your neighbors to report your outage.
  • When reporting your outage, whether via phone or online, enter the phone number where you can best be reached in case Dominion needs to contact you for more information or to provide an update.
  • Leave one light on so you will know 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:

  • Stay away from fallen wires and debris.  Treat all fallen wires as if they are energized.
  • Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home, in crawl spaces or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Do not hook 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 directly into the generator with the proper-sized extension cords.
  • Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call Dominion at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
  • Clear snow from the area around your home's heat pump so that air can circulate properly.
  • Check for ice buildup within the exterior heat pump mechanism. Ice buildup can impede the proper functioning of the fan.  If it persists, you may need to contact a qualified service technician.

Some useful links for the public and media during the winter storm season are:


Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,600 megawatts of generation.  Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 13 states.  For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.

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SOURCE Dominion Virginia Power