Monday, September 15, 2003

Dominion Virginia Power Prepares for Hurricane Isabel

"Dominion Virginia Power started preparing late last week for Hurricane Isabel, which is projected to bring extremely high winds and heavy rain into Virginia and North Carolina this week. ... The company expects to have a service restoration workforce of 5,000."

"Based on Hurricane Isabel's current projected track, extreme weather -- with winds of more than 100 mph in northeastern North Carolina and Hampton Roads -- is expected to sweep Thursday across most of the company's 30,000 square mile electric franchise service area. Damage to electric facilities could start as early as Tuesday, with the harshest weather expected Thursday afternoon and evening.

"Customers should be preparing for a major weather event. Storms of this magnitude can cause widespread and extended electrical outages.

"Our customers need to be prepared for not having electricity for several days because of broken poles and downed power lines. Plus, recent rains mean that wind-blown trees will cause their share of outages. As soon as we are able to assess the damage, our line crews will begin safely restoring power," said Jimmy D. Staton, senior vice president-Operations.

"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. 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.

"Dominion crews are assigned to work on problems that affect the largest number of customers first, with emergency facilities receiving expedited attention."

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