Dominion Energy continues its work to restore power in Central Virginia, where thousands were left in the dark after Friday’s powerful windstorm.
“This windstorm this past weekend was one where we’re rebuilding instead repairing,” explained Alison Kaufmann, communications manager with Dominion Energy. “It did cause a lot of outages. We had all crews, contractors, as well as mutual aid from out of state.”
Toppling trees crushed several power lines, leading to mass outages, but looking forward, the Strategic Underground Program could make a difference for families in outage-prone areas.
In the Stratford Hills area, work has already begun to place overhead power lines underground. Neighbors in the area say their power goes out easily, so some have purchased generators through the years to help keep their homes more protected.
By moving the lines, Dominion Energy hopes to cut down on outages.
“Those underground lines still connect above line to a main line. We’re usually able to access and restore a main line much more quickly than we can in these neighborhood backyard situations,” said Kaufmann.
Dominion Energy has been working on the project for months. Through its research, the company has identified the areas that do experience more frequent outages.
Kaufmann says Dominion has been working with homeowners, obtaining easements to continue the underground drilling and other necessary work. Dominion’s goal is to place 4,000 miles of overhead power lines underground. So far, the company has placed 787 miles of power lines underground.
“We believe if we can underground 4,000 miles, about 20 percent of our overhead tap lines, that will reduce outage times by 50 percent,” explained Kaufmann.
Dominion says it is not just families in outage-prone areas that will benefit from the underground lines, moving the power lines, could make it easier for crews to respond to areas in need of power restoration.
“All customers benefit, even if we’re not undergrounding in your neighborhood, crews are able to respond to your neighborhood more quickly when a storm hits,” she said.