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Dominion Energy, REC prepare for potential winter storm

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:59 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - As central Virginia braces for another potential snow storm, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Dominion Energy say they’re prepping for outages, taking lessons learned from what happened earlier this month.

“We’re absolutely hoping for the best, but we’re planning for the worst,” Casey Hollins with REC said. “We have 315 REC employees already staged, it’s over 100 mutual aid electric coop workers, and then over 125 tree trimming crews.”

The snow forecasted for Sunday, Jan. 16, comes just as some people are finally seeing their lights come back on. On Monday, January 3, 100,000 REC member owners were without electricity, the peak of the outage during the storm. Final restoration efforts concluded Wednesday, Jan. 12, meaning some families were without power for more than a week.

Hollins says the delay is caused by rough terrain and weather conditions, as well as an inability to predict what kind of damage will need to be assessed.

“The crews don’t know the damage that’s out there until they lay eyes on it. Our crews would go out to an area thinking they have to replace one pole, only to find that there were numerous broken poles,” Hollins said.

Those delays and uncertainties impact outage maps and estimated restoration times, something Peggy Fox with Dominion Energy said the company is reassessing after facing criticism about estimated restoration times constantly changing.

“We’re always trying to do better. We look at how things went, and we know that customers were without power, and we’re going to try out level best to give accurate information and rest assured we are looking at how things went,” Fox said.

Fox did tell NBC29 that Dominion is going to wait until it is 100% sure it has accurate information before providing estimated restoration times.

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