The power outage that derailed the Art on the Avenue celebration is just the latest in a long chain of outages that have hit Alexandria over the last year, giving the lie to Dominion Energy’s claim that a large outage almost exactly a year ago was a fluke. Mayor Justin Wilson has previously called the state of frequent outages unacceptable and urged Dominion to do more to upgrade its infrastructure.
Power outages are just one of the infrastructure issues Alexandria is grappling with. This week the state also announced it would be funding some flooding mitigation work in Alexandria, while some in city leadership are hesitant about the price tag for some specific waterfront flood prevention plans.
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- Art On The Avenue festival continues despite Del Ray power outage
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Photo via Dominion Energy/Facebook
River Farm gets taken off the market — “Local residents cheered over email and text messages Wednesday after learning that the American Horticultural Society’s board — or what remained of it — decided not to sell its 27-acre property overlooking the Potomac River.” [Alexandria Living]
Northern Virginia AFL-CIO presents award to Rep. Don Beyer — “When the bus drivers in Alexandria – the DASH workers (who had been trying to unionize over decades, actually), Alexandria City hired a union buster and Congressman Beyer stepped in and was very forceful with his language in making the city aware that the DASH workers had a right to organize.” [Zebra]
Let’s Meat On The Avenue is restocked again after Saturday outage — “It wasn’t just restaurants impacted by Saturday’s #ArtOnTheAvenue outage. After having to toss much of their inventory, @LetsmeatDelRay is restocked and open! Picked up some beautiful pork chops for dinner. What’s your #artontheavenueafterparty stop today?” [Twitter]
Free food pop-up distribution points announced — “ALIVE! provides bags of food for specific neighborhoods or apartments, in collaboration with community partners, in the parking lot at each pop-up emergency food distribution location.” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s weather — “Mostly cloudy skies. High 77F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds. Low 63F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Lot attendant/Porter — “We have full and part time positions available.” [Indeed]
The power went out on the busiest day of the year in Del Ray on Saturday (October 2).
An estimated 50,000 people descended on Mount Vernon Avenue for the 26th annual Art On The Avenue festival that day, but many restaurants and other businesses were forced to shut down due to the outage.
“It was disappointing,” Blackburn said. “It was a lot of work for nothing.”
Dominion Energy reported that the outage was due to underground switch and cable equipment failure, and eventually restored power at around 10:30 p.m. — after the event was over.
Mayor Justin Wilson says the city is now considering a “variety” of options to improve service.
“We are exploring a variety of options to improve the reliability of Alexandria’s electricity service,” Wilson said. “We continue to believe that Dominion can and should do more to build a more reliable and resilient infrastructure to serve the City.”
Wilson did not get specific on the options, and said that the City will release more information this week. During the outage, he tweeted out a strongly worded post, and said it was unacceptable that a central business district was plunged in darkness.
Blackburn said business was strong the following day, on Sunday, with support mainly coming from local customers.
“Once again, we are lucky to do business in such a great community,” he said.
The Dairy Godmother, on Facebook, said that it lost “400 kolaches and 1,500 donuts… due to the power outage.”
“We are so sorry we were closed,” the shop wrote. “We have the greatest staff in the greatest neighborhood with the worst power company (except for Texas), we will open at 9AM with Just Fine Donuts, today we have Pumpkin Cake donuts, plus all of our usual flavors of yeast and cake donuts. With luck by 10 we will have Sausage Cheese Kalaches. Custard by Noon with Pumpkin as the Flavor of the Day, Apple Crisp is the Treat of the day.”
Alexandria also sent a letter to Dominion asking them to step up their game earlier this year. There were 16 large-scale outages in 2020 affecting thousands of residents.
The following businesses lost power, according to Visit Del Ray:
Its a beautiful day… but unfortunately… we have a difficult outage in Alexandria. We apologize & appreciate your understanding.
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) October 2, 2021
Yesterday Del Ray enjoyed an incredible return to Art on the Avenue. However, due to the power outage many restaurants on the Avenue had to close. They're back and need your support!
— Del Ray Citizens (@DelRayCitizens) October 3, 2021
Please head down to Del Ray tonight and support the restaurants and retailers impacted by yesterday’s power outage, or else you’ll see more of @BillofDelRay on your television…
Consider yourself warned… pic.twitter.com/CVoMXJAZLZ
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) October 3, 2021
A power outage in Del Ray has shut down a number of businesses, although the annual Art on the Avenue festival today (October 2) is still happening. The event is one of the biggest events in the city and draws tens of thousands of people.
“We have a right to expect more from @DominionEnergy,” tweeted Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “Plunging a central business district into darkness for the better part of their biggest day of the year, with no inclement weather, is UNACCEPTABLE.”
The Alexandria Health Department has shut down a number of businesses due to the outage, although most of the art vendors don’t need power to operate along Mount Vernon Avenue. The Del Ray Business Association’s set-up team was out at 5 a.m. working in the dark.
“For some of those businesses this is literally the busiest day of the year,” said Del Ray Business Association Board member Gayle Reuter. “Restaurant staff are just waiting there with all the food they bought, and it’s very frustrating. But the festival is unbelievable. It’s one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen. It’s just really sad for local businesses without power. They’re the ones who have been hurting.”
The festival ends at 6 p.m.
I will say it again:
We have a right to expect more from @DominionEnergy
Plunging a central business district into darkness for the better part of their biggest day of the year, with no inclement weather, is UNACCEPTABLE.https://t.co/3rxX316pZS
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) October 2, 2021
The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch that will remain in effect until 9 p.m.
This is the second evening in a row of rough weather, as a brief storm knocked out power for thousands Wednesday night. Consequently, Dominion Energy is warning of potential outages tonight.
A Special Marine Warning has also been issued until 6 p.m. for the Potomac River, as wind gusts of 34 knots or greater are anticipated.
“Boaters in small craft could be thrown overboard by suddenly higher winds and waves capsizing their vessel,” NWS advised.
More severe weather may affect our VA customers this evening. Remember: power outages can be reported 24/7 on our website https://t.co/vafoMGehVo or through the Dominion Energy app. https://t.co/arOJLvIyHS
— Dominion Energy (@DominionEnergy) July 29, 2021
Showers and thunderstorms are expected this afternoon and evening. Some of the storms may be severe with damaging wind gusts. An isolated tornado is also possible. Isolated instances of flash flooding may also occur due to heavy rain. For the latest: https://t.co/5RyZgoXicj pic.twitter.com/XOB2L8cDTM
— NWS Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) July 29, 2021
An electrical malfunction has prompted the required evacuation of a 17-story apartment building in the West End.
The power went out at Key Towers at 6060 Tower Court shortly before 5 a.m., and the city’s DASH bus service is helping transport evacuated residents to a cooling center at Patrick Henry Recreation Center, which is just over two miles away. There are 140 units in the 1960s-era building and Monday’s temperature is expected to reach the mid-90s.
“Evacuation is required and is being ordered by the Fire Marshal’s Office,” AFD Senior Public Information Officer Raytevia Evans told ALXnow. “Dominion Energy is on-scene now, and they have been for a while along with us. The building has been evacuated because the power had to be cut in order to make those repairs on what they’ve discovered.”
Dominion determined that a privately owned underground transmission line went down, Evans said.
“The property managers have their private contractors on scene as well,” Evans said, adding that that the city’s Office of Emergency Management is working with the property manager to inform residents that the building will be without power for “a while”.
This morning, AFD responded to an electrical malfunction to a 17-story residential bldg on Tower Ct. Power to the building has been cut & residents were safely evacuated w/help from the Fire Marshal’s Office. AFD & @DominionEnergy on scene to support residents and repairs. pic.twitter.com/4L5EOOVQRH
— Alexandria Fire-EMS (@AlexandriaVAFD) July 12, 2021
For thousands of customers in Alexandria’s West End, power is still out after last night’s storms.
According to Dominion Energy’s power outage map, 3,703 customers in the West End — from the border with Shirlington down to the Van Dorn Metro station — are currently without power.
The outages are broken into two sections, with an unfortunate handful of homes near Hammond Middle School caught in the overlap. The northern half of the outage has been identified as being caused by a blown circuit and work crews are currently dispatched to fix the problem. For the southern half, the cause is still under investigation.
— Stephen Carcamo (@scarcamoboom) May 26, 2021
Good morning! Clean-up and repair work is underway after last night's storms. Please be patient. If you come to an intersection with flashing or dark traffic lights,🚦 treat it as a stop sign.🛑
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) May 27, 2021
Map via Dominion Energy
Updated at 12 a.m. Thousands of Alexandria residents are currently without power, as a thunderstorm continues to affect the city, according to Dominion Energy’s outage map.
There are more than 3,400 people without power in Old Town. There are also more than 150 residents without power in North Ridge due to a downed power pole, and more than 300 without power in Del Ray. Crews have been dispatched to impacted areas.
Alexandria and the surrounding area were hit by a thunderstorm at around 4:30 p.m.. A Hazardous Weather Outlook remains in effect until 10 p.m.
What a week in Alexandria. Here are some of the highlights.
The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday approved its Fiscal Year 2022 $770.7 million budget on Wednesday, and it includes a 2 cent real estate tax reduction. It’s the first time that’s happened in 15 years, and the budget also fully funds Alexandria City Public Schools’ request and includes a 1% raise for city and state employees.
But perhaps the biggest news of the week came with City Councilman Mo Seifeldein’s proposal to eliminate School Resource Officer funding from the budget. The effort was supported along by Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilman Canek Aguirre and Councilman John Taylor Chapman, who voted along with the group after failing to save the program in a last-minute effort.
Crime stories dominated many headlines, and Police Chief Michael Brown spoke with us this week about his department’s efforts to reduce destructive elements throughout the city. More from that interview will be published next week.
In this week’s poll, we asked about the importance of political endorsements for local candidates. Out of 222 responses, 48% (107 votes) don’t consider endorsements while voting; 39% (86 votes) said endorsements influence their decision; and 14% (29 votes) feel that endorsements hold a lot of sway.
- City Council candidates clash on critical local issues, Part 1
- City Council candidates clash on critical local issues, Part 2
- NEW: Alexandria School Board shakeup looms as few incumbents have filed to run for reelection
- Election: Northam endorses Wilson for reelection
- Here’s which City Council candidates signed the new ‘Alexandria Constituents’ Bill of Rights’ pledge
- COVID-19 update: 40% of residents got first vaccine shot, 29% got second shot
- Old Town dominated the city in 2020 business grant funding
- NEW: Man sentenced 41 months for targeting Alfred Street Baptist Church, journalists and others in ‘swatting’ conspiracy
- Developer JBG Smith joins J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives to own and manage 2 million square feet of Potomac Yard
- ACPS could adjust grades in recognition of COVID challenges
- West End man with history of violent behavior taken into custody
- Appeal to save North Ridge home takes fight to City Council
- Girlfriend of murder suspect arrested for breaking into home and beating up witness
- Parking issues plague Potomac Yard, city looks to create residential parking district
- Knife pulled on woman who chases would-be thieves in Old Town
- D.C. man arrested after 130 mph chase leads to crash on Interstate 495
- Police: Armed robberies occur minutes apart in Del Ray and Arlandria
- Two injured in hit-and-run in Old Town, driver leaves car and flees on foot
- Too noisy? City Council is considering revising Alexandria’s noise ordinance
- Alexandria City Council to end School Resource Officer program at Alexandria City Public Schools
- Alexandria man arrested for firing gun at 7-Eleven door near Braddock Road Metro station
- Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
- JUST IN: Power outages across Alexandria as strong winds hit the city
- What’s next for GenOn and the rest of Old Town North?
Have a safe weekend!
Update at 6:20 p.m. — Outages remain in Taylor Run, but the Arlandria outage has been fixed.
Several thousand Alexandrians are currently without power as a result of a “wall of wind.”
According to Dominion Energy, 2,915 customers are without power in Arlandria.
There are other scattered islands of power outage throughout the city, including 1,349 customers in Taylor Run without power. In the West End, 857 customers are without power near John Adams Elementary School.
There’s no indication yet when power could be restored.
From the National Weather Service:
BULLETIN – IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
National Weather Service Baltimore MD/Washington DC
439 PM EDT Fri Apr 30 2021
The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia has issued a
* Severe Thunderstorm Warning…
* Until 515 PM EDT.
* At 438 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Montgomery Village to near Chantilly to Warrenton, moving east at 65 mph.
HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts.
IMPACT…Damaging winds will cause some trees and large branches to fall. This could injure those outdoors, as well as damage homes and vehicles. Roadways may become blocked by downed trees. Localized power outages are possible. Unsecured light objects may become projectiles.
* Locations impacted include… Arlington, Alexandria, Germantown, Centreville, Waldorf, Dale City, Rockville, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Reston, Bowie, Severn, Annandale, Clinton, Olney, Springfield, College Park, Crofton, South Riding and Fort Washington.
People attending the FEMA Greenbelt Metro mass vaccination site should seek safe shelter immediately!
For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.
Image via Dominion Energy