NOVEC prepares for more power outages from second storm

Virginia, February 9, 2010 — The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative crews are continuing their around-the-clock work to restore power to about 1,300 customers still without power from Saturday’s record snowfall.

The storm forecasted to deliver an additional 10-20 inches on Tuesday and Wednesday will likely cause additional power outages, from the predicted high winds and heavy snows blowing down additional trees onto power lines.

“We will make special efforts to restore customers still without power from the first storm as higher priority than new outages from this new storm,” says Allen Barbee, NOVEC vice president of electric systems operations. “We are getting to the remaining 150 outages as quickly as we can. Most of the current outages affect multiple customers.”

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Repairs to the remaining residential outages are particularly difficult, Barbee says, due to roads that still are impossible for NOVEC repair trucks to access, and broken lines weighted down by fallen trees. “If our crews can’t drive NOVEC trucks into problem places, they have to walk through two feet of snow carrying heavy equipment and chain saws. Then, they have to find the lines that are down and cut and remove the trees then repair the damaged lines. That takes a lot of time.”

Click here for more coverage of outage management during the East Coast’s February 2010 blizzard

“Our crews have responded to more than 300 outages since the storm began on Friday,” says NOVEC Operations Center Supervisor Larry Shaffer. “This storm has been a beast. The deep snows, unplowed roads, bitter temperatures, and wind have made work conditions horrible, but we’ve restored power to more than 45,000 customers so far.”

“Currently 99 percent of our customers have power functioning normally,” says Mike Curtis, vice president of public relations. “But we take very seriously the concerns of our customers still without power and are doing everything we can to restore their service as quickly as possible.”

For any additional outages caused by the approaching storm, NOVEC must continue to restore facilities in the necessary sequence of substations first, then circuits that serve a large number of customers, and finally smaller neighborhoods and individual services.

NOVEC recommends that customers have contingency plans in case of extended outages, including alternative sleeping accommodations if necessary. In addition, all Northern Virginians should have fresh batteries for flashlights and radios, plenty of food and water, necessary medicines, pet food, baby supplies, blankets, and firewood for wood-burning fireplaces. NOVEC reminds customers to only use electric generators that have been installed outside by licensed electricians for the safety of homeowners and NOVEC line technicians.

NOVEC is a not-for-profit corporation that distributes electricity and energy services to more than 143,000 customers in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and Clarke counties, and the City of Manassas Park.


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