RICHMOND, Va., March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power expects to restore service by Friday night for more than 95 percent of customers whose power was disrupted by a severe winter storm this week. The storm brought up to 18 inches of heavy, wet snow as well as high winds and rain to much of Dominion's service area from Tuesday evening until early Thursday morning.
More than 4,700 Dominion employees and contractors, including 500 from out-of-state, are working around the clock and will continue to do so until all service is restored.
The company said the pace of storm restoration will vary by area based on the extent of damage and accessibility.
As of 11a.m. today, service had been restored to about 180,000 – or 78 percent – of the 230,000 customers affected by the storm. Outage restoration essentially has been completed in the Virginia suburbs nearest to Washington, and most other areas will have power restored by Friday night. Restoration will continue into Saturday in the hardest-hit areas surrounding Charlottesville and the Shenandoah Valley.
"We recognize that any service interruption can be disruptive for customers, and it is especially difficult when conditions are challenging," said Rodney Blevins, vice president-Distribution Operations. "We've completed enough of our damage assessment to be able to provide overall restoration times by geographic areas. As crews arrive on site and complete a more detailed damage assessment, individual customer restoration times will be available."
Dominion encourages customers to use Dominion's website – dom.com – to report or check the status of their outage via a mobile device or computer. Customers also can get outage status and report an outage by calling toll free 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
Blevins said that while Dominion works quickly to address safety issues, customers should always assume downed wires are energized and stay away from them. That includes not touching trees or anything else a downed wire is touching.
"Safety is our absolute top priority," Blevins said. "We are concerned about the well-being of our customers, the emergency responders dedicated to serving the public, and our employees."
The company will update its website, www.dom.com, with information about the storm restoration as it becomes available. A Twitter feed, www.twitter.com/DomVAPower, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/dominionvirginiapower, also are available.
The highest priority for power restoration is always given to public safety and emergency facilities such as hospitals, emergency 911 call centers, and municipal water pumping stations.
If your 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 the company toll-free at 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates one of the nation's largest underground natural gas storage systems and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.
SOURCE Dominion Virginia Power