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Powerless neighbors seek answers from Dominion Energy

Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 7:45 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Many Dominion Energy customers are still left without power this weekend, or word on when it will return. Some have been without electricity since Monday, Jan 3.

Dominion Energy says some of the work locations in rural areas are harder to reach, causing some restoration delays, but customers say it isn’t the lack of power that’s frustrating. It’s the lack of communication.

“This past Monday, our power went out and 100 plus hours later, it has not returned, and you know, we live 10 minutes west of Charlottesville,” Albemarle County resident Matt Weber said.

Weber lives off of Ivy Road, surrounded by other powerless homes.

“The map today says we have power,” Weber said. “My friend sent me a text congratulating me that we have power because the map said we had power, and I said, ‘we don’t have power!’”

Weber and his neighbors are joining hands to make the situation work. He says people are watching others’ pets and one person is keeping a generator running so that breast milk in the freezer doesn’t melt.

“We’re seeing a lot of good, too,” Weber said. “But at the same time, we’re just feeling like Charlie Brown in that comic strip where Lucy puts the football down. We keep trying to kick it and the football keeps getting taken away.”

Some neighbors left the area Monday, before things got worse.

“If we had known that Saturday we wouldn’t have heat, we would have prepped the house for it,” Albemarle County resident Jennifer Ludovici said. “We thought we’d be coming back on Wednesday and so yeah, we just weren’t prepared. We couldn’t be prepared because we had bad information.”

Others stayed in their dark houses, prepping meals off of fires in the backyard.

“We really don’t have a choice,” Albemarle County resident Cassandra Hamernick said. “We don’t have family nearby. All the hotels have been filled up. We have dogs, so we were limited in our options. We have to sort of stick it out and stay tough.”

Neighbors say the lack of communication from Dominion impacts how they all make real life decisions. They say they would not be in this situation, and all would be better if Dominion told them earlier in the week that as of Saturday morning, there would still be not be power.

“There are folks out here who got some pretty serious issues that they’re dealing with and if they think that they’re going to be OK in 24 hours they will stick it out,” Ludovici said. “If they knew that it was going to be over 100 hours, they would have found better solutions.”

These neighbors all say they are thankful for electric workers out in the field, working tirelessly all day.

“We would love to have a clear, unbiased perspective of what is actually going on. We’re getting lots of different information and changing information, and we’re really appreciative of the workers. They’re doing excellent work,” Weber said. “We just love direct, honest, open communication as much as possible.”

Dominion says it’s the unexpected aspects of the snow that are delaying the restoration process.

“We are continuing to discover more damage, which can shift how long we believe it will take to perform the repair work,” Jeremy Slayton with Dominion Energy said. “When we provide a customer with an estimate for when their specific home or business will be restored is based on our understanding of the situation as it is in front of us.”

Dominion Energy told customer, most would have power by late Friday, Jan. 7 . At the end of the day, thousands were still without electricity. Now it’s saying by end of day Saturday everyone will have power.

When asked what if this does not happen, Slayton said, “We’re going to work until every customer is restored. You know, every single one of our crews will continue to be out there and working until the last customers back on and like I said, our target is hitting all these customers today.”

Slayton said Dominion has not made updates faster because, “We have to see the information. We have to process the information. We have to you know, look at the damage and see how extensive it is before we can, you know, make a full assessment on any delays.”

“It’s like, cross your fingers, but at the same time, it’s like, it’s probably not going to happen,” Cassandra’s 5th grade daughter, Eliana, said.

Dominion Energy posts its power updates at Outage Map (dominionenergy.com).

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