Post Content
Outage on Seminary Hill (image via Dominion Energy)

Updated 11:50 a.m. — As of around 11:30 a.m. the power outage was resolved

Earlier: Around 900 Alexandria residents are currently without power due to an outage near James K Polk Elementary School.

The school itself hasn’t been hit with the outage, but Dominion’s outage map says 895 of their neighbors have.

The cause of the outage is still under investigation. The area was also hit with outages during the storm last week.

The estimated time of restoration is between 1-4 p.m., though those tend to be conservative estimates.

4 Comments
Great Waves Waterpark (image via NOVA Parks)

While August may traditionally be a bit of a local news drought, several aquatic stories made a splash this week.

A major thunderstorm hit on Wednesday, but power outages across the city were generally much briefer than in the wake of other storms.

NOVA Parks also included Cameron Run Regional Park in a look at planning for its sites over the next few years.

On the crime front, there were several car-related incidents this week including a man who was arrested after driving down the wrong side of the road toward police.

  1. Man charged after allegedly driving on wrong side of road toward Alexandria Police
  2. Dominion: Thousands without power as city is hit by storm
  3. Multiple charges after felon crashes into Metro Bus in Braddock area
  4. Man charged after allegedly falling asleep in running car on wrong side of Yale Drive in Taylor Run
  5. Here’s the latest on Covid in Alexandria
  6. Free haircuts and school supplies for kids in Alexandria on Sunday
  7. NOVA Parks says new plans coming for Cameron Run Regional Park in the next few years
  8. JUST IN: Severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings issued for Arlington
  9. Alexandria waste facility complete pollution reduction overhaul
  10. Senior care facility Woodbine pitches new expansion plans
2 Comments
One of Alexandria’s power outages in the West End (image via Dominion Energy)

(Updated 5:15 p.m.) As a severe thunderstorm sweeps through Alexandria, Dominion Energy says there are around 2,992 customers in the city without power.

Dominion’s outage map showed that there was a large outage — 3,705 without power — along Duke Street and southern Seminary Hill that has since disappeared from the map. Another large outage — 1,557 customers — is reported just west between James K. Polk Elementary School and Beauregard Street.

As of 5 p.m., Alexandria is under severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings.

0 Comments
Power outage in Carlyle neighborhood (image via Dominion Energy)

A power outage in Alexandria has impacted around 2,000 residents

A Dominion Energy outage map indicated that 1,998 customers are currently affected by the outage.

Scanner chatter indicated that intersection lights were out and there were people stuck in elevators, but there was no ongoing fire. A Dominion Energy crewis searching for the cause.

According to the Dominion website estimated time of restoration is between 6-9 p.m., though those tend to be conservative estimates.

2 Comments

The big story in Alexandria this week was the murder of Luis Mejia Hernandez on Tuesday.

Hernandez was stabbed and killed in a brawl outside of the Mcdonald’s in the Bradlee Shopping Center.

Alexandria City High School went to asynchronous learning for the rest of the week to give students space and time to grieve. The Alexandria Police Department were at the scene when the stabbing occurred and friends of Hernandez say police didn’t do enough to stop the stabbing.

Another important story out of the week was power outages on Monday following a storm Sunday evening.

Top stories

  1. BREAKING: Student killed after fight at Bradlee Shopping Center McDonald’s
  2. Wear masks, get tested and stay home, says Alexandria Health Department amid Covid surge
  3. Alexandria Police step up patrols in wake of homicide at Bradlee Shopping Center
  4. Police were at the Bradlee Shopping Center before teenager was fatally stabbed
  5. These Alexandrians just found a stash of baby formula and donated it to ALIVE!
  6. Police say they’re not at fault in response to fatal stabbing at Bradlee Shopping Center
  7. Dominion Energy warns power may not be restored in Alexandria until Tuesday morning
  8. Expanded King Street pedestrian zone to start this weekend
  9. Two Alexandria schools switch to remote learning due to ongoing power outages
  10. VDOT pitches I-495 express lanes expansion from Springfield to Maryland
0 Comments

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.”

15 Comments
Restored power line in Alexandria, image via Dominion Energy/Twitter

While Dominion Energy warned earlier that repairs for large swaths of Alexandria could be delayed until Tuesday morning, most of those outages have been cleared up as of 3:30 p.m.

Around 176 Alexandrians remain without power, according to the Dominion website. Those outages are scattered around the city, though 144 of them are in Arlandria — which was hit with widespread outages last night.

The Dominion website said the Arlandria restoration is likely to be resolved between 6-11 p.m., but Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox told ALXnow those estimates generally reflected the latest possible times those could be delayed.

The outage caused frustrations among Alexandrians, who said the post-storm power outage was a reflection of the poor state of utilities in Northern Virginia.

City Council member John Chapman said the outages emphasized the need to take another look at undergrounding more utilities in Alexandria.

Image via Dominion Energy

0 Comments
Outages in Del Ray on May 23, image via Dominion Energy

Around 982 customers are currently without power across Alexandria as Dominion Energy scrambles to fix damage from a Sunday night storm.

Power outages already pushed two Alexandria City Public Schools to virtual classes. The Dominion Power website said the outages may not be fixed until 9 p.m. tonight (Monday) or 2 a.m. tomorrow.

Peggy Fox, a spokesperson for Dominion Energy, said the estimate represents hopes for the latest it may be restored.

“The [time of restoration] on there are the extended ranges, that’s as far out as it may take,” Fox said. “There’s a lot of damage.”

Fox said crews working in Arlington, for instance, are clearing away damage from fallen trees — which may take at least eight hours.

“We have to get out here and get our eyes on the damage,” Fox said. “It takes a little time. I know people are upset.”

This morning, Fox said Dominion Energy had 92 power outage projects it was working on.

Most of those outages are centered in Del Ray and Arlandria, which together account for 592 outages.  There are also 133 customers without power in the Taylor Run neighborhood.

The outages brought to mind old concerns about Dominion Energy’s local utility grid. While Dominion had previously tried to claim power outages were a fluke, in March, Dominion Energy said it would invest $17 million in the city to improve reliability. Those improvements could take up to three years, however, while outages continue.

Image via Dominion Energy

2 Comment

Two Alexandria City Public Schools have switched to virtual classes due to widespread power outages around the city after a storm Sunday night.

Alexandria City High School’s King Street campus (ACHS) and Charles Barrett Elementary School have both switched to asynchronous virtual learning, meaning classes are being switched to online rather than in-person.

Currently, around 2000 people across Alexandria are without power. Over one-third of those, around 750 people, are in the West End near John Adams Elementary School. There are also around 342 households without power in Del Ray. Families without power are also, obviously, unlikely to be able to access virtual classes.

“There continues to be a power outage at the King Street Campus of Alexandria City High School (ACHS) and at Charles Barrett Elementary School today, Monday, May 23, 2022 from the storm last night,” ACPS said in a release. “Both schools will use asynchronous virtual learning for the day. Students should log into Canvas or Clever for more information on specific activities and assignments.”

The ongoing outages also raised old concerns about Dominion Energy’s local utility grid. Dominion had previously tried to claim power outages were a fluke, a claim proven as untrue after the city was repeatedly hit by widespread power outages over the next year. In March, Dominion Energy said it would invest $17 million in the city to improve reliability, but that could take at least three years.

https://twitter.com/meronneva/status/1528706930587357185

3 Comments

Five months after a 16-hour power outage disrupted Del Ray’s Art On The Avenue festival, Dominion Energy says it will invest $17 million over the next three years to improve reliability in the city.

That was the gist of an hour-long update from Dominion to City Council Tuesday night (March 22), where Bill Murray, Dominion’s senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications, informed City Council that the energy giant plans on spending $3.4 million this year, $8.5 million in 2023 and $5.2 million in 2023 on 20 “incremental reliability investments” in areas affected by outages in Alexandria, and will begin planning with city staff next month.

“We’re going to plan in April to have some workshops with your staff around the first five,” Murray said.

There have been few outages in Alexandria since Art On The Avenue on Oct. 2 — forcing businesses to close for the the busiest day of the year on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. The weather was nearly perfect that day, with clear blue skies. Since the event, Murray said, Dominion has replaced 1,000 feet of power cables in the area, and will give future Art On The Avenue festivals the same attention as it gives to polling places on Election Day.

“Any of your polling places, regardless of the weather forecast on Election Day, whether it’s bad weather, good weather, whatever it might be, we always have a plan for each individual polling precinct,” Murray said. “We recognize things happen, and we don’t want the marching democracy being interrupted by an outage. So, we’re going to adopt that approach with this particular festival.”

Dominion did not present a PowerPoint presentation to City Council, and did not present details on which areas of the city need improvement, which irked some members.

“I’ll be honest, we were a little hampered by not having something to kind of look at tonight,” said Mayor Justin Wilson, who has been critical of Dominion for years.

Council Member Kirk McPike said that a PowerPoint presentation would have been useful after “repeated failures of our electrical system over the years.”

“We need the people of Alexandria to be able to see what we’re discussing here, what point you’re raising, have a better sense of what’s going on here,” McPike said. “Right now I don’t think they do.”

Dominion last spoke with the council shortly after the Art On The Avenue outage, and provided the city with maps on where it plans on making improvements in the city.

Council Member Alyia Gaskins said she appreciates Dominion’s plan to prevent an Art On The Avenue outage from reoccurring, but that the city hosts multiple large-scale events throughout the year.

“I’m also thinking about the fact that we have so many big, really important events in the city, beyond Art On The Avenue, and that was catastrophic and devastating,” Gaskins said. “Maybe there’s a top five list of events that we know are huge economic generators for the city, and having that same type of pre-scan, pre-assessment, as well as a point person who is on-site would be critical for those events as well.”

Vice Mayor Amy Jackson said that Dominion is a valuable partner, and that she would appreciate its representatives to be on the ground for large festivals.

“I don’t know how you would have enough manpower and boots on the ground to do that for every festival,” Jackson said. “That’s close to impossible, but I’d like to see you try. If you’re promising one to Art On The Avenue, then then absolutely, I’ll take you up on all of them. We’ll give you the calendar.”

2 Comment
×

Subscribe to our mailing list