Dominion Restores Power to More Than 1 Million Customers

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 22, 2003

Staff Writer

RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion has restored power to 1.1 million of the total 1.8 million customers who lost electric service as a result of Hurricane Isabel.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, about 758,000 remain without power in the company’s service area that stretches from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Tidewater, Central and Northern Virginia – the exact area hit hardest by Isabel.

According to Dominion Power spokesperson Chuck Penn, 14,123 out of a total of 16,847 customers on the Ahoskie power grid are still without power.

The Outer Banks is projected to have power restored by September 23 with 75 percent of the rest of North Carolina projected to receive power September 28.

&uot;Keep in mind, there are a lot of power lines down so it is going to take some time,&uot; said Penn.

&uot;There is a likelihood the numbers will change for the better but our electrical crews will continue to work their hardest to restore power to all residents.&uot;

The company has now restored power to approximately 60 percent of its customers affected by the hurricane.

Dominion’s army of 9,700 employees, contractors, tree trimmers and crews from 11 assisting utilities – the largest restoration force in company history – continues working to restore service to the remaining transmission and primary distribution circuits ravaged by uprooted trees, broken limbs, torrential rains and high winds.

All hospitals that lost power because of the hurricane have been restored.

Crews restored power to 32 primary water-pumping stations in the 30,00 square mile service area.

The company is continuing to work with municipalities to identify other public infrastructure, such as schools, which will need power.

Hurricane Isabel’s devastating damage to Dominion’s power grid included:

62 of the company’s 380 transmission lines – 1,600 miles of high voltage power lines.

Crews restored 41 of them by Sunday, with the last 21 lines due back in service early this week.

On Sunday, Dominion fully restored transmission service to those substations that supply power to electric cooperatives.

About 1,150 of the company’s 1,600 primary distribution circuits – 72 percent.

These power lines deliver electricity to lower voltage circuits that go to homes and businesses.

Primary circuits are the first circuits restored after storms.

Primary circuits must be repaired, inspected and reconnected to the grid before homes and businesses can be served.

2,311 broken utility poles.

3,899 snapped crossarms.

7,363 spans of downed power lines.

The damage for the North Carolina region:

481 damaged poles.

945 damaged crossarms.

1,319 spans of wire down.

Dominion remains concerned about customer safety, especially from downed power lines and improper use of generators.

&uot;We can’t stress enough the importance of standing clear of downed power lines,&uot; said Penn.

&uot;If you see any hanging lines or wires assume they are ‘hot’ and stay away from them.&uot;

Company officials note that unless installed professionally, generators should not be connected to the whole house electrical service.

Improperly installed, the electricity could back feed onto Dominion’s power lines and injure line crews.

Residents are encouraged to report downed power lines by calling 1-888-667-3000.

Penn commented that, &uot;Callers may receive a recorded message but the process is painless, quick and the most effective way for them to report the damaged wires needing repair.&uot;

Dominion also called on customers to check on elderly relatives and neighbors or others with special needs who may not have their power restored.