Statement from Dominion VA Power on extended outages

Submitted by WAVY viewer Sarah Brumley Lightner

Below is an email sent by a spokesperson for Dominion Virginia Power and received by WAVY News just after 8:00 this morning:

“The cold front that brought extreme wind conditions to our entire service territory overnight cleared the service territory around 10 p.m. last night but left strong winds behind that continue to impact our area.

Peak wind gusts were measured at over 50 mph in almost every Virginia local office. Trouble began in our northern and western regions about 5:00PM on Saturday  and moved eastward through the early evening hours. While the winds have dropped below the extreme levels we saw last evening, we are still experiencing 15-20 mph winds with gusts up to 45 MPH. Winds will fall below the operational levels by late morning. Cold temperatures and wind chills near zero will make restoration work treacherous the remainder of this event.

Outage activity peaked last night at 10:30PM with 103,000 customers out.  As of 7:00AM this morning, 160,000 customers have experienced a power outage with 45,400 still awaiting restoration at about 1,100 work locations.

Our central region was hit the hardest. The Richmond metropolitan area has roughly 20,000 customers out with 431 work locations. Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck also had significant impact with 5,000 customers still out at 109 locations.

Impact to the eastern region was not as severe, but the Tidewater and Williamsburg offices still have 9,300 customers without service at over 100 locations.

Our northwest region saw similar conditions as the east but since the winds subsided earlier there, they made excellent progress overnight. 6,000 customers remain without service out at this time at about 200 locations.

Damages are typical to wind related events, we have numerous wire down locations and most are tree related. Our Northern Neck office has reported 8 broken poles and 16 broken cross arms in two areas. We expect to find a few more locations like this as we reach the daylight hours and as our patrol teams conduct their detailed damage assessment.

Crews worked through the night working safely and focused on critical infrastructure. There have been 150 critical accounts affected by this event. Our focus remains on the 38 critical accounts still without service.  The majority of these are police and fire stations, telecommunications facilities and numerous water treatment and pumping stations.

Additional Dominion and contract crews will continue to arrive in these locations throughout the day. We continue to acquire additional resources from some of our neighboring utilities and cooperatives that were not as significantly impacted. Patrol crews were in at 6:00Am and detailed damage assessment is underway.

The call center opened up last night to address the increased call volume. Call volume continues to be high. Understandably, some of these customers are frustrated that they’ve lost power during these frigid temperatures and a few are complaining about lack of estimated time of restorations.

Our plans are to get estimated time of restorationss updated later this afternoon once we have more information back from  damage assessment crews. Based on the damages we have seen so far we expect to have 75% of the remaining customers restored by late tonight. There will be several locations that sustained significant damage in our Richmond Metro and middle Peninsula offices where restoration will not be completed until late Monday.”

The Emergency Preparedness Center will send another update out later this afternoon.

Chesapeake:  About 2000 customers without power at 41 locations.  10,000 affected since storm started around 5 p.m. yesterday evening.

Portsmouth: About 1400 customers still without power at 4 locations.  2800 customers affected since beginning.

Virginia Beach: 875 customers without power at 22 locations.  9600 since 5 p.m. yesterday.

Newport News: 400 customers without power at 16 locations.  1300 affected since 5 p.m. yesterday.

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