Post Content

Dominion Power says ‘outlandish cost’ prevents city-wide power line undergrounding in Alexandria

After a Sunday storm that knocked out power to much of the city, some locals suggested Dominion Energy look into undergrounding more of its utilities, but the power company says costs and other factors keep that from being a viable option on a city-wide scale.

Alan Bradshaw, vice president of strategic partnerships for Dominion Energy, said commissioned studies found the cost of undergrounding all utilities to be “outlandish.”

Northern Virginia Magazine previously reported that the price tag for state-wide undergrounding is around $80 billion.

“Undergrounding is frequently brought up, especially during storms,” Bradshaw said. “The state corporation commissioned a study but installation cost is outlandish and would impact customers and their bills.”

Instead, Bradshaw said Dominion has been “strategically undergrounding” to protect some of the more vulnerable power lines.

“We took the opportunity a few years ago, not to underground everything, but to underground some of the more outage-prone lines,” Bradshaw said. “We use ten-year outage histories to identify most outage-prone lines and target the neighborhood lines we go to frequently. We’re undergrounding that for much less cost than undergrounding the entire system.”

Bradshaw did note that undergrounding isn’t viable in every location and — while not citing Alexandria specifically — did say areas that are prone to flooding also make poor candidates for utility undergrounding.

“Of course, not every area is perfect for undergrounding,” Bradshaw said. “If an area is prone to flooding, that’s probably not something we’d do there.”

Meanwhile, Dominion Energy is warning more outages are likely as the year moves into hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said conditions are ripe in the Atlantic Ocean for a busy hurricane season.

“The forecast is that we do expect a busy tropical season,” said Alan Bradshaw, vice president of strategic partnerships for Dominion Energy. “The setup is conducive for some of those tracks to come up the coast.”

Bradshaw said Dominion has been upgrading its storm infrastructure, though in ways that may not be immediately apparent to someone driving past. Wooden cross arms, for example, are bein replaced with a lighter but more durable polymer.

“There’s bigger poles, stronger cross arms… a lot of new technology on the grid,” Bradshaw said. “A lot of folks that may drive down the road may see poles and wires and it may look similar to what it did 60 years ago, but there’s a lot of new technology [like] devices that monitor and tell us when there’s damage.”

Bradshaw said recovery efforts prioritize critical infrastructure like hospitals and 911 facilities. Dominion also works in tandem with local agencies on public safety hazards like downed wires.

For locals, Bradshaw said the best thing they can do to help with storm recovery is to report outages, either through an app or through the city website.

The power outages this week were met with frustration from the community.

Dominion Energy has previously told the City Council that it would invest $17 million into infrastructure in Alexandria over the next three years as part of an effort to improve reliability, though this pledge was met with some frustration from city officials at the meeting for failing to include any details on what type of improvements that investment entails.

“It’s important to know: our teams are constantly training to be the best when our customers need us most,” Bradshaw said. “When the product we provide is not available it causes issues for our customers. We’re very sensitive to that and motivated on that to get the lights on.”

Recent Stories

A look at the smallest and largest homes sold in Alexandria last month, January 2024.

The City of Alexandria wants federal help to make the stretch of Seminary Road northwest of I-395 safer. The City Council is slated to review a grant application to the…

Here’s your weekly look at the events, live music, and entertainment that are happening around Alexandria this weekend; enjoy!  Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY…

While pro-Potomac Yard arena advocates and lobbyists are making the rounds in Richmond, a group of locals are also knocking on doors in the legislature fighting against the arena. Former…

Are you looking to work on health and fitness from the comfort of your own home?

Skip the big box gym and try out our in-home personal training service. We bring the gym to you so that you can save time and avoid the hassle of going the the crowded gym.

We bring all the equipment you need for a solid workout and if you have a community gym we can use that too.

We offer programs that will help with weight loss, strength, flexibility, more energy and overall feeling better.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM

Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.

Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

2nd Annual Pysanky Party This Sunday

Again this year, The Critical Mass, LLC, the Made in ALX store and local Ukrainian-American artists are throwing a Pysanky Party — and partnering on a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Razom for Ukraine.

The free event, from 5 –

×

Subscribe to our mailing list