Power company prepares

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dominion Energy is preparing for the worst at its Chuckatuck office as everyone waits for the arrival of Hurricane Florence.

Trucks were being packed on Wednesday with surplus wire and line hardware, with at least double the amount normally stocked on the trucks.

Employees are watching the weather as they work to prepare the trucks for any given emergency situation.

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“It’s getting better by the minute, but we are projecting this to be a two-day event,” said construction project supervisor Kit Burnette. “We still believe this will be a serious major restorative event.”

The biggest concerns for Dominion will be localized flooding and falling trees, but falling trees is a bigger concern in Suffolk, according to Burnette.

The ground is already very saturated, and this leads to trees falling over with little wind, Burnette said.

Employees will start 12-hour shifts Thursday as they wait for power to go out across Hampton Roads, and they plan on having 24-hour coverage to provide around-the-clock aid to their consumers.

While they want to help the entire city, their main concern will be downtown Suffolk. This is due to the placement of circuits.

As power starts to go out across the city, their first priority will be to hit critical areas that affect the most customers.

“People don’t like it, but we look at distribution lines, and we try and get as many people on as possible. Then we will help the more rural areas,” Burnette said.

For Dominion, the work never stops, and they have no plans on stopping until their entire coverage area has power back on.

“Once we activate, we won’t stop until we are done,” Burnette said. “We take this one day at a time, because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Dominion is making sure they have all hands on deck for Hurricane Florence. The company has put workers into hotels that have had to evacuate from their homes.

“They’re dedicated to the job. They want to be here to help,” Burnette said.