Jun 1, 2010
RICHMOND, Va., June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power has been preparing for the arrival of the 2010 hurricane season, which begins June 1, by working closely with local, state and federal emergency response organizations. The company also is providing storm training for key responders, conducting emergency response drills, and strengthening its service restoration processes.
"Dominion Virginia Power employees throughout the company work around-the-clock to keep the lights on," said Rodney Blevins, vice president – Distribution Operations. "Equipment inspections and maintenance are important, as is our program of preventing trees and other objects from coming into contact with electric lines.
"When severe weather brings extreme conditions and causes outages, we strive to be ready to respond. Without a doubt, we have many opportunities to practice and refine our outage restoration program," Blevins said. Storm restoration information, including an interactive outage viewer, is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/index.jsp. (Note to editors: A video of Blevins describing Dominion's storm response organization in the operations center is featured below and is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5sesdsPdec. B-roll is also available.)
Within Dominion's 30,000-square-mile service area are more than 800,000 utility poles, 500,000 transformers and 62,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines. This area is affected by anywhere from 250 to 500 thunderstorms and more than 200,000 lightning strikes in a typical year. Moderate hurricanes that cause up to 200,000 power outages occur about every two years, while major hurricanes affecting 800,000 or more customers take place every four to six years.
"We encourage our customers to be prepared and keep themselves safe during significant weather events, just as our crews are ready to work safely in restoring power," Blevins said. "It's best for both our company and customers to understand the severe challenges summer thunderstorms and hurricanes can present."
Dominion reminds its customers to call toll free 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to report outages, downed power lines and trees or other objects near downed lines. The company's outage reporting system, which consists of call-center representatives and 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 outages and downed power lines.
In-house weather forecasters in Dominion's Weather Center in its Richmond office constantly monitors all approaching weather systems to enable the company to prepare for potential operational problems before inclement weather strikes.
The company asks its customers to pay attention to weather reports including those provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If severe weather is expected, take these common-sense steps to prepare for possible outages:
Before the storm
During the storm, if electricity is interrupted
After the storm
Some useful links for the public and media during the summer storm season are:
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of more than 27,500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 12 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
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SOURCE: Dominion Virginia Power