RICHMOND, Va., March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Virginia Power crews have restored power to more than 61,000 of the 181,000 customers affected by the severe storm still passing through Virginia. Up to 18 inches of heavy, wet snow has fallen in the northern two-thirds of Dominion's service area, and the forecasts call for continued snowfall and increasing winds as the day progresses.
"We are working in challenging conditions to get the lights back on for our customers quickly while maintaining safety as our first priority – safety of our customers and safety of our crews," said Rodney Blevins, vice president of electric distribution operations.
Storm restoration began as soon as conditions allowed crews to work safely. Restoration information is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/index.jsp
Dominion crews from less-affected areas of the state and from utilities in nearby states are assisting in restoration efforts in the western Piedmont, Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia areas, where the impact of the heavy, wet snow – nearly twice as wet as typical snow – was most severe. Subsequently, strong winds are bringing additional damage to wires, utility poles and pole cross arms."Please stay away from downed lines and anything touching them – assume they are energized, and report them by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357)," Blevins said. "We also ask that you help protect our linemen when you see them on the roadside making emergency repairs by moving over from the lane nearest the workers or by slowing down until you pass the site of the repairs." Customers should call 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357) to report outages and not count on their neighbors to report them. Customers also can report and check the status of power outages using the company's website at www.dom.com via computer, smartphone or other mobile device. 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. A video description of the storm restoration process is available online at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/how-we-restore-power.jsp. 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.
- 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).