RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Power has been restored to more than 1.1 million Dominion Virginia Power customers whose electric service was affected by Hurricane Irene. That is equal to about 92 percent of the customers whose electric service was disrupted by the hurricane.
More than 7,000 employees from Dominion Virginia Power, other utilities and contractors are working amid catastrophic damage in many instances to restore service to those customers who remain without service in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Most of the remaining work is in the hardest-hit areas in the Richmond metropolitan area, counties to the south and southeast of Richmond and parts of northeast North Carolina.
"We thank our customers for their patience," said Rodney Blevins, vice president of distribution operations for Dominion Virginia Power and Dominion North Carolina Power. "Nearly all customers still affected by Hurricane Irene will have electricity restored by Saturday night. Because of the extreme damage in some areas, Dominion may require additional time to complete the restoration. We will continue to work through the Labor Day weekend until every customer is restored."
"We understand how difficult things are for our customers without power. They have endured difficult conditions for several days, and they are counting on us to focus all available crews and equipment on the areas that remain without power," Blevins said.
On Monday, Dominion set a target of restoring service to 90-95 percent of affected customers by the end of the day today. It reached that mark early this morning.
In repairing damage caused by Irene, Dominion crews have used more than 6,000 wire splices in the past week - the same amount typically used in an 18-month period under normal conditions. Crews also have replaced 11,250 insulators, 1,250 utility poles, 4,580 cross arms and 760 transformers - a three-month supply under normal conditions.
Since August 26th, Dominion's customer care representatives have received more than 1.4 million customer phone calls and the company's website, www.dom.com logged more than 1.5 million visits.
Dominion advises customers whose electric service has been disrupted by Irene to:
Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized.
Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
Do not connect portable generators directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backward onto Dominion's power lines and endanger lives. Either have a qualified electrician perform the work or plug appliances directly into the generator using the proper-sized extension cords.
Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide and can be deadly, so run your generator outside with proper ventilation. Store the fuel for your generator safely.
Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call us at 1-866-DOM-HELP.
Dominion (NYSE: D) is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 28,200 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation's largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.