With meteorologists predicting an active hurricane season, the company is working with state and local authorities and double-checking its inventory of repair materials to make sure it can respond quickly to the extensive damage major storms can cause. 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.
"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 fast as humanly possible – and that's our goal."
To help keep the lights on, Dominion Virginia Power plans to spend 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.
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.
- 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. You can also receive warnings, safety tips, and power restoration reports on your mobile device by signing up at http://www.twitter.com/DomVAPower.
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.
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/threats/hurricane/index.cfm.
- Sign up for a "Manage Your Account" online account with Dominion at www.dom.com (keyword: MYA) 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.