Dominion plans for electric line Reconstruction

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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Dominion Energy is preparing to update two aging power lines. During an open house meeting held on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Renee Celebration Center, residents came by to learn more about the power company’s Earleys-Tunis-Suffolk project, a plan to rebuild two electric transmission lines after more than five decades of use. 

The two lines, a 115 kilovolt (kV) electric transmission line between the Tunis and Earleys substation and a 230 kV line between the Suffolk and Earleys substation, will be updated with new weathering steel material. During the open house, Senior Communications Specialist Carrie Rose-Pace talked about the “end-of-life rebuilt project.”

“Its existing transmission infrastructure is wooden today, and it has reached the end of its service life. So what we’re going to do is we’re going down the old infrastructure … and replace them with new structures that look very similar,” she said.

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For Suffolk, the 44.3 miles long 230 kV line was originally built on a wooden H-frame with weathering steel lattice structures. With the wooden frame deteriorating, the line will be rebuilt with new brown, weathering steel H-frame and galvanized steel lattice structures. Rose-Pace noted that Dominion will be required to file the project with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) due to the line carrying 230 kilovolts of voltage and will do so in October.

“So then the SCC will review our application, everything from cost to material, anything that will be included in our packet and then make a recommendation on whether they will approve this for construction or come back with next steps,” she said.

Likewise, Project Manager Frank Greco described the importance of updating the lines as soon as possible before problems arise.

“Periodic remediation or fixing … it will solve it before it gets to a point that we need to do something about it,” Greco said.

The project’s timeline lists that the anticipated SCC project approval will occur in the fall of 2024 after the application’s review. Following this would be right of way review and permitting in 2025, forestry activities in January 2026, and construction activities in Spring 2026. Suffolk and Tunis substation construction would occur from spring 2026 through fall 2027. Finally, the anticipated rebuilding completion is planned for summer 2028, while restoration activities such as vegetation management and rehabilitation is planned for fall 2028 through spring 2029. On the impacts Suffolk would see, Greco noted that “more than normal construction equipment” would be seen. Rose-Pace said most of the project is “rural or agricultural” and that noise or proximity to dwellings should not be an issue. She emphasized the company is letting residents know ahead of time.

“We will certainly notify landowners before we show up, so we’ll be sending what we call a ‘preconstruction’ notification. It can be a postcard or a letter, so it’s really important. If you see you receive something from us that has Dominion’s logo on it, we really want you to read it. It’s important,” Rose-Pace said. “That will include things like our schedule, when are we planning to come in and access the right of way from your property. Sometimes we will also leave just a door hanger on the front door of the property if we missed them.”

Likewise, Rose-Pace detailed the importance of Dominion providing right of way restoration following their work.

“This is something that we really work hard at filling in to make sure that we are monitoring the grass or the right-the-way … the vegetation in or around that structure after we’re done. We want to make sure that we leave it as good as when we came,” she detailed. “Rehabilitation can take multiple growing seasons. … So we’ll be coming back periodically to check on it and make sure that it rehabilitates the way that it is designed to.”

“The way that we expect it to,” Greco also added.

Rose-Pace also emphasized that the public still has an opportunity to express their voices regarding the Reconstruction.

“There are other steps in between through the State Corporation process where [a] public comment period will be open,” Rose-Pace said. “If you missed the open house tonight, you can see all the public materials that we brought. All the boards that we walked through together are posted online …”

For more information, visit or call 1 (888) 291-0190.