Last week, Dominion faced the most damaging and widespread ice storm since 2000, leaving over 290,000 people without power by Saturday, including more than 2,700 across the Northern Neck.
With over 48 hours of freezing rain and ice, Dominion faced a range of issues including fallen tree limbs, broken poles and hundreds of downed power lines. Some of those who lost electricity were customers whose power lines were buried amid Dominion’s Strategic Underground Program.
“The power lines that feed those underground lines may be overhead and if the outage occurred along these main, overhead lines, it could impact and cause outages to those customers with underground lines,” explained Jeremy Slayton, a member of Dominion’s media relations team.
Between its crews and contractors, Dominion had deployed over 5,200 workers and more than 500 bucket trucks for the storm restoration effort by Sunday. However, as of 4 p.m. there were still about 1,100 customers in the Northern Neck without power and approximately 111,000 statewide.
Slayton said crews were out in force and working as safely and quickly as possible to make the remaining repairs, which included replacing poles and crossarms as well as repairing power lines. But he noted that the snow and ice created hazardous travel conditions and made areas difficult to access.
In a separate media release, Dominion said that the vast majority of customers could expect to be back online between Sunday and Tuesday. But the company also said that ice storms pose a unique challenge to power restoration efforts because ice continues to weigh down tree limbs and power lines even after the storm has passed. Therefore, Dominion forewarned that additional outages may occur as the ice begins to melt and tree limbs snap back into place.