September 13, 2005
RICHMOND, Va. – Dominion Virginia Power, the electric delivery unit of Dominion (NYSE: D), is preparing crews to be ready to respond if anticipated heavy rain and wind from Tropical Storm Ophelia causes outages.
Ophelia, which has been sitting off the coast of South Carolina, is expected to have the greatest impact on Dominion customers in northeastern North Carolina and Hampton Roads as it moves to the north and northeast.
In preparation for Ophelia, Dominion checked its repair trucks, supplies, fuel and other equipment to ensure their ability to respond. The company also recalled its employees and contractors who were in Louisiana helping that area recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Additional crews from central and northern Virginia also are ready to respond to affected areas as necessary.
Dominion reminds its customers to call toll free 1-888-667-3000 to report outages or downed lines. The company also reminds customers to stay away from downed power lines and consider them extremely dangerous.
The company's outage reporting system, which consists of operators as well as a computer-powered voice response unit, can handle 100,000 calls an hour. Using the voice response unit is the quickest way to report an outage or downed power lines.
When outages occur, Dominion crews are assigned to work on problems that affect the largest number of customers first, with emergency facilities receiving expedited attention.
Dominion urges its customers to pay attention to weather reports and, if appropriate, take common-sense steps to prepare for possible outages:
- Have a good supply of fresh batteries for flashlights, clocks and radios.
- Have several gallons of fresh water on hand. This is especially important for those who rely on well water.
- If lightning occurs, disconnect cable lines from TVs and stereos and phone lines from computers. This will help prevent damage to these expensive items.
- Do not hook portable generators directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could backfeed into power lines and endanger repair crews. Either have a qualified electrician perform that work or plug directly into the generator with the proper-sized extension cords. Remember to keep any generator properly ventilated to avoid a build up of carbon monoxide fumes.
Dominion also reminds customers that if they have health problems or are dependent on home medical equipment, they may need to make arrangements in advance for shelter some place other than their homes. Customers who require home oxygen systems may also want to make sure that they have extra tanks. Customers who are dependent on prescription medications should make sure that they have an adequate supply.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with an energy portfolio of about 28,100 megawatts of generation. Dominion also serves retail energy customers in nine states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
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Corporate Media Line, 804-771-6115
North Carolina/Eastern Virginia Media Line, 757-857-2700