Central Virginia Electric Cooperative
CVEC is down to 6960 reported outages and is shifting crews from southern portion of the service territory to assist with outage in other areas. As power is restored along a circuit, the Outage Management System uses predictive analysis to list members who should have power restored unless there is another unknown fault location. If you receive a call or see online that we predict that your service has been restored but your are still without power, please re-enter the outage online.
What did we find in the field yesterday?
The men reported slow going and a high level of damage in the field yesterday. They also reported regular interruptions from members who stopped them to ask about service restoration efforts. It only takes five minutes to chat with a member, but if that happens 30 times in 18 hours, we have lost almost three hours of production. Members should report downed trees and conductors and ask question through our office personnel, leaving the men in the field to maximize the efforts to restore service. Please communicate this in a soft, warm way to our members.
What do we expect today? We still have lots of work to do. We have 20 poles left to replace in the Lovingston division and another 20 in the Palmyra division. We have literally hundreds of spans of wire on the ground, with each coming from broken crossarms or other pole top damage. Each location requires tree cutting and clearing, pole top construction, and wire repair and reinstallation. In many cases, when we complete work in an area we energize less than fifty houses. Most of the locations cannot be accessed by truck due to the softness of the ground, so we are spending time carrying in equipment and materials.
The outage total should drop significantly today and many member will have service restored as fault locations are cleared along the primary circuits and tap lines. Once that is complete crews will focus on individual outage after clearing the primary lines that feed those members. That work will extend into the weekend. Keep in mind, that repairing damage that affects a single member when there are fault locations up line will not restore service to that member.
Who is working?
We have crews from multiple cooperatives in Tennessee and Kentucky, plus crews from Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Prince George Electric Cooperative, Norther Virginia and Northern Neck Electric Cooperative in the state. Our Appomattox division is completing their restoration this morning and those crews will also be dispatched into the Palmyra division. We have contract right of way crews clearing the tree in some areas as well.
Please keep in mind that some crews are cutting away trees, others are patrolling lines, while others are dedicated to reconstruction. Some may be assigned to an individual service. Each has a specific assignment in a coordinated restoration plan. While it is tempting to stop them for an update, all will tell you about the extensive damage but few can provide an accurate prediction since they are focused on specific tasks.
Questions and Comments
Q: I called the 800-367-2832 number but could not get through
A: Verizon dropped our service during the first two days of the outage. Service was restored on Thursday evening. If you are unable to reach us today or beyond, it is due to high call volumes. CVEC also works with a group that will handle our call overflow if we have sufficient outbound lines available.
Q: Why can't the Co-op give me a definite time?
A: Electricity flows to a member from the substation along a path that includes primary
lines, tap lines and then service lines. Much of the path is shared but as the lines split off, the path become differentiated as it approaches the members home. There was so much damage in the field, much of it still to be discovered that a time estimate for an individual is speculative. Utilities that provide time estimates for an individual either have suffered less damage or are willing to provide an estimated time with no guarantee of meeting that deadline. If CVEC provided individual time estimates, they would be based upon information that includes too many variables and would cause frustration if the estimated time was not accurate.
Q: Why did CVEC do more to prevent this damage?
A: The Co-op spends $1.5 million per year on right-of-way maintenance, to clear trees
below and along the power lines in a 40-foot right-of-way corridor. Frankly, we do a better job than the major power companies that intermingle with our system. However, CVEC has less people per line mile and more trees growing outside of our right-of-way that we cannot touch. It is those trees that have fallen into our lines and cause all of the damage.
Q: I am frustrated and think that this is just unacceptable.
A: That is understandable and crews are working as efficiently and as long as possible, often without the benefit of equipment. The reality is that our service territory, similar to ones to the north, suffered damage comparable to a natural disaster.
No one wants to be without electric service but clean-up and repair cannot be accomplished in a matter of hours over 4,500 miles of power line. Restoration times will vary from a few hours for those who were fortunate not to have trees fall in the path that serves them to five days for the unfortunate who have perhaps a dozen trees fall, put line on the ground in multiple locations and break 3-4 poles along the path that serves them.
CVEC understands the importance of electric service, understands the frustration that a loss of service causes, and is working diligently and efficiently to respond to damage that is as severe as a major hurricane.
We also thank those members who have demonstrated patience and understanding.
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is a member-owned, not-for-profit, electric utility serving the rural portions of 14 Virginia counties.