Dominion Virginia Power Preparing For Hurricane Season, Urges Customers To Do Same
-- $1.7 billion being spent over two years to enhance reliability, strengthen system
-- Safety tips, alerts available from Dominion on Facebook, Twitter
-- Save money by purchasing hurricane supplies during tax-free holiday May 25-31
To help keep the lights on, Dominion Virginia Power is spending more than $1.7 billion over about a two-year period to strengthen its electric grid, support growing demand for electricity and improve service reliability for its 2.4 million customers. This initiative is designed to do an even better job of keeping the lights on and restoring service as quickly and safely as possible when they are not.
"We will be ready if it happens," said Rodney Blevins, vice president-Distribution Operations. "We know that when a storm hits, customers count on us to get the power back on safely and as quickly as humanly possible – and that's our goal." Dominion monitors the development and track of hurricanes as far out as possible to make sure it is ready if the storms target the Virginia-North Carolina area.
The company works year-round with state and local authorities to make sure it can respond quickly to the extensive damage that major storms, especially hurricanes, can cause. As the start of hurricane season approaches, Dominion also conducts refresher training and multi-day emergency preparedness and response drills.
Blevins encouraged Dominion Virginia Power customers to also take steps to prepare for hurricane season. He noted that Virginians can save money if they purchase supplies and equipment from May 25-31 when some of it will be exempt from state sales tax. Information is available at: http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=HurricanePreparednessEquipmentHoliday
Here are some important steps for customers to remember:
- Dominion's toll-free service number is 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).
- Call if you lose power and use the automated reporting system for fastest access. Please have your account number or the phone number that is listed on your account ready so you can move through the automated system to report your outage or receive an update.
- Treat all downed lines and anything touching them as energized and dangerous. Be sure your children know the danger.
- Keep needed supplies such as flashlights, water, medicines, portable radios, extra batteries and canned goods on hand.
- Look after neighbors and relatives who may need assistance if they lose power.
Dominion uses the latest in communications technology to keep its customers informed about storm threats, damage to the electric system and restoration efforts. Warnings will be posted on the main page of the company's website, www.dom.com, when a major storm is imminent. Warnings, safety tips, and power restoration reports will be available on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DomVAPower and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dominionvirginiapower.
Customers can keep up with the weather, real-time electric outage maps and restoration information, safety tips and much more at Dominion's online storm center at http://www.dom.com/storm-center/index.jsp . The site also offers a video on what the company does to prepare for storm season, as well as how it works to restore power once the storm passes.
General hurricane preparedness information is available at the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready America website: http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/hurricanes.shtm.
Dominion asks its customers to pay attention to weather reports including those provided by the National Hurricane Center at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
If severe weather is expected, take these common-sense steps to prepare:
- Check out the hurricane evacuation guidelines available at the Virginia Department of Transportation's Web site: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane_default.asp. Also see the information on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's Web site at: http://www.vaemergency.com/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes.
- Sign up for a "Manage Your Account" online account with Dominion at www.dom.com/service so you can easily report your outage and obtain outage updates on-line without having to call in (keyword if you have an MYA account: reporting outages). Also be sure to update your account with the phone number you plan to use when reporting your outage. Phone numbers can be updated on-line or by calling our special phone number update line at 1-800-222-0401.
- If you experience an outage, report it and then 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. Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
- Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Do not hook them directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backwards onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. The correct, safe technique is to plug directly into the generator with proper-sized extension cords.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27, 500 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
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