Dominion Virginia Power Prepares For 2007 Hurricane & Summer Thunderstorm Season
RICHMOND, Va. – Even before the first tropical storm of the 2007 hurricane season, Dominion Virginia Power has been preparing by enhancing storm training for key responders, participating in more drills, and improving its service restoration processes.
“It’s never too soon to start thinking about the challenges that summer thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes can bring to our company and our customers,” said Jay L. Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Dominion Delivery. “We want our customers to be prepared and keep themselves safe during challenging weather events, just as our crews are ready and work safely in restoring power.”
Dominion reminds its customers to call toll free 1-888-667-3000 to report outages or downed lines. The company’s outage reporting system, which consists of call center representatives as well as an automated voice response unit, can handle 100,000 calls an hour. Using the voice-response unit is the quickest way to report an outage or downed power lines. You may also want to store this number in your cell phone.
The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday issued its first advisories of the season for Subtropical Storm Andrea, which is meandering off the southeastern coast of the United States. Dominion’s weather operations staff is monitoring Andrea closely, but the storm is expected to stay off the southeast coast for the next several days. It should have minimal impact on the Dominion Service area.
Dominion urges its customers to pay attention to weather reports. If severe weather is expected, take these common-sense steps to prepare for possible outages:
Before the storm
* Develop an emergency plan, including evacuation routes and special medical needs. For the most up-to-date state preparedness information on hurricanes, visit the Virginia Department of Emergency Managements’ Web site section on hurricanes: http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/hurricane/index.cfm
* If you have not done so, establish an on-line account with Dominion at www.dom.com and update it with your telephone number — including your cell phone. This will ensure the accurate reporting of the location of your power outage.
* In the event of a power outage, make sure you have a battery-operated radio, multiple flashlights, and a battery-operated clock and fan, along with extra batteries.
* Make a point of having extra cash on hand, because widespread power outages could affect area ATM machines, which makes obtaining money after a major storm more difficult.
* Turn off and unplug any non-essential electrical equipment.
* Put important documents in a waterproof container.
* Have several gallons of fresh water on hand. This is especially important for those who rely on well water.
* Have a good supply of canned and other non-refrigerated foods available.
* Make sure all prescription medications are filled.
* Have a full tank of gas in your car.
* If you have pets, make sure you have provided for them as well.
During the storm, if your electricity goes off
* Turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to the appliance and possible overloads to the company’s system when power is restored.
* Disconnect cable lines from TVs and stereos and phone lines from computers. This will prevent lightning damage to these items.
* Leave one lamp or light on so you can tell when power is restored.
* Post a list of contents on your freezer to minimize the number of times you open it.
* Frozen foods can last up to three days. They are safe to eat if they still have ice crystals at the center.
* If using portable or camp-type stoves or lanterns for cooking and lighting, make sure the area is adequately ventilated.
After the storm
* Please be patient. Listen to your local radio station on your car or battery-powered radio for regular news and weather updates. Assume that Dominion is aware of mass outages, but if your neighbors have power and you do not, call 1-888-667-3000.
* For your safety, please stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all fallen wires as if they are energized.
* Please be careful to follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never run one inside your home.
* Do not hook portable generators directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could back-feed into power lines and endanger repair crews. Either have a qualified electrician perform the work or plug directly into the generator with the proper-sized extension cords.
* Visually inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call us at 1-888-667-3000.
Some useful links for the public and media during the summer storm season are:
* Dominion Virginia Power Storm Center: http://www.dom.com/news/storm.jsp
* Virginia Department of Emergency Management: http://www.vaemergency.com/index.cfm
* Federal Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/index.shtm
* National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/
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