Dominion Energy representatives say that the massive power outages that affected thousands of homes in Alexandria and Arlington last Friday (October 23) were “unique,” and caused by a piece of equipment that failed at its Glebe Road substation.
“This was a unique. Typically, you might experience an outage on one single circuit,” Tim Sargeant, Dominion Energy’s external affairs manager in Northern Virginia, told City Council on Tuesday night. “Needless to say the outage occurred on multiple circuits.”
Sargeant reported that at around 7 p.m., a piece of equipment at the station failed, which caused an outage to 16,504 customers.
“Electric service was restored to 11,247 customers within one minute with the remaining customers restored in increments ranging from 53 minutes to 80 minutes,” Sargeant said. “After the first restoration, approximately 8,000 customers experienced multiple moments of brief service interruptions during the next two hours.”
Then at around 9:15 p.m., another outage affected 8,017 customers after Dominion rerouted electric service to other circuits.
“The additional load on the circuit triggered protective devices that interrupted service as a precaution, as service was restored one of those customers in increments of 18 minutes, 14 minutes, and seven minutes,” Sargeant said, adding that Dominion will send the city a report on recent outages.
City Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that power outages in Alexandria have been too frequent.
“That does seem like a lot of outages for a pretty short amount of time,” Chapman said. “We definitely want our residents to believe that they have reliable power.”
Wilson said that he getting carryout at a restaurant on Mount Vernon Avenue when the lights went out.
“I did watch two restaurants right in front of me close down, because they just gave up because of power going on and off and customer after customer walking up and being told to go away,” Wilson said. “To have a Friday night off, it’s heartbreaking for them. That’s a lot of lost revenue.”
There are widespread power outages in Alexandria and Arlington tonight. Dominion Energy is investigating the cause, and has provided an estimated restoration time of 1am. If your power is out, please report it at https://t.co/rjdvsX47E1
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) October 23, 2020
The enormous power plant in North Old Town has been shut down for nearly a decade, but plans have finally emerged to break the property up into smaller parcels for redevelopment.
The Potomac River Generating Station, more commonly known around Alexandria by its former name GenOn — which still adorns the building’s signs — was decommissioned in 2012.
The property’s owner, the Potomac Energy Power Company (PEPCO), is scheduled to bring a plan forward at the March 3 Planning Commission meeting to divide the property into three parcels..
The first lot, by far the largest at 818,944-square-feet, would encompass the administrative building and the power plant itself. Two smaller lots, 121,285-square-feet and 164,734-square-feet respectively, would be located at the western end of the property. Lot three would run along E. Abingdon Drive.
Following years of cleaning up the property, plans approved in 2017 would see the power plant redeveloped and turned into a pedestrian-friendly, urban neighborhood, as reported by the Washington Business Journal. An arts district and a waterfront park are also included in city plans for the area.