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Dominion: Frozen branches falling on power lines could lead to extended outages

Dominion Restoring Power Frozen Storms.png
Posted at 12:50 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 12:50:31-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dominion Energy crews worked to restore power to more than 9,000 customers in the Richmond Metro/ Tri-Cities area Friday morning following another round of winter weather.

Dominion said the continuous icy conditions are causing challenges that could lead to several days before power is fully restored.

Crews were on scene of several locations where power lines came down causing outages.

One location was on the 2000 block of Broad Rock Boulevard, where a branch came down on the line.

"Coming down Broad Rock and I saw a big blue light from the power, and I thought I was getting electrocuted. You know because I heard the humming and the flash so I thought a wire hit my bike," said Brian Peace, who works nearby and witnessed it.

Peace said he was on his way to work at the James Food Store just after 6 a.m. when the line came down.

"I put the pedal to the metal -- decided to get away as fast as I could," Peace said.

Miles away, a similarly dangerous situation could be found in a south Richmond neighborhood on Meeks Lane -- where a large tree came down and appeared to have pulled several power lines with it.

Jeremy Slayton, spokesperson for Dominion Energy, said crews had been working day in and out for the last week in rough conditions to assess damage and restore power. Many outages, he said, were the result of heavy ice and falling branches.

"Look at some of the branches here how they’re weighting down with the ice -- you know eventually they’ll just snap and crack and break which causes a fault and causes an outage," said Slayton.

According to Slayton, for those experiencing outages, getting the lights back on after Friday morning's weather may not happen in a matter of hours -- it could take days.

"We’re telling our customers to prepare for a multi-day outage and restoration effort," said Slayton. "A lot of it’s going to depend on the weather and how cooperative it is to aid the restoration process."

"Just because it doesn’t seem like it's doing a lot right now, it's not the time to relax," Slayton said. "Our crews have to be hyperfocused on safely performing the restoration work, and we want our customers to be hyperfocused on the fact that just because it seems calm now doesn’t mean an outage won’t occur."

However, for Peace, power at the James Food Store along Broad Rock, where he works, came back on hours after it went out.

"I’m going in there to make a pot of coffee," said Peace.

With some hot coffee, and warm thoughts -- Peace said he was looking forward to springtime -- and thankful someone was looking out for him Friday morning.

"I'll be glad when it hurry up and melt! Spring time come here. I’ll be glad when it melt," Peace said. "God is good. Every day."

Dominion Energy reminded everyone to keep safety in mind and stay 30 feet away from downed lines.

If you experience an outage or see a downed line, call the Dominion Energy customer service line at 866-366-4357.