4,669 Dominion customers powerless in storm's wake

new-outageDominion reports 4,669 customers were rendered powerless by storm.

The line of thunderstorms that rolled through Central Virginia Wednesday, August 4, at dusk ripped power from 4,669 Dominion Power customers in Albemarle County, according to Dominion's interactive map.

Another storm, one day later, put even more Dominion Power customers out of service, and rendered McIntire Road impassible for much of Friday, August 6 while utility pole repairs were made.

–-story updated 3:08pm, Tuesday, August 10


Imagine the uproar and lawsuits if you came home from work and found out that Dominion power had cut down a tree is YOUR yard (not in the right of way) because it could potentially knock over power lines.

The trees in YOUR yard are YOUR responsibility and YOU should hire a private contractor and pay him with YOUR money.

I was referring to the site plans for shopping centers and developments where the county MANDATES a certain amount of landscaping that includes trees planted under existing powerlines.

You will also notice that when a tree falls in the median or right of way they replant.

Not true, Very Old Timer. During the June 24, 2010 microburst in Charlottesville, my mother's house and brick landscaping walls were bombarded with about 5 fallen 60 to 80 foot trees from her neighbors yard. It was my mother's insurance that was held responsilble to have them removed and repair all of the damage to her home. The neighbor had to pay nothing.

On a happier note, my mother needed a new roof anyway. She not only needed a new roof, she's actually upgrading to the 3D architectural 30 year shingles this time. And new gutters as well.

So, to sum it up, once my healthy large tree falls due to Mother Nature, I bear no responsiblity whatsoever. Wherever it lands, they are responsible. That's the law in Virginia.

I am just guessing but maybe it is less expensive to just keep repairing downed lines than it is to constantly pay for tree trimming crews.

Being the cynical, suspicious person that I am I can't help but wonder if Dominion owns stock in some of these home generator companies. There seem to be a lot of them being installed. It would be a win-win-win situation for Dominion. The generators are not run when electricity is working therefore the generators don't threaten the amount of electricity sold. Dominion saves by not constantly paying tree trimming crews and the generator company stocks they own increase in value.

Jim, I am one of those wussies also :-) .

They constantly trim trees, however they meet resistance from tree huggers so they can only go so far. Also, they are not allowed to trim trees on private property until it is contacting the wires. Most downed power lines are from big trees in your yard falling over into the right of way.

One long term solution is to make it illegal to plant a tree underneath a power line.

What a generation of wussies we are, myself very much included. Losing power for a few hours is a crisis right up there with losing 3G connections with our iphones or settling for coffee from 7-11. Don't know how you fix it; just hope these luxuries last forever I guess.

glad i didnt lose power :)

The cost of putting the lines undergrounds is astronomical. Tree trimming crews are cheap. Let's go with the tree trimmers.

Well, the reason more people are out of power is the explosive growth in poorly constructed sub divisions the county splurged on over the last 15 years. Here they want to spend millions upon millions on bigger water supplies for future growth, and yet no one can take care of what we have already.

It's ridiculous.

There is a certain elegance to buried power lines--we're not solving the same annoying problem of clearing trees and repairing lines over and over and over again. Seems like there is a significant social value to that (albeit hard to quantify). We could then let the trees grow more and give us more shade and make these 95 degree days a little more tolerable. Not to mention that by trimming trees you reduce their natural wind resistance by interfering with their balance of branches and leaves around the trunk.

Americans can be so backward (and proud of it). put the power lines underground already!

What else is new. Every time it rains we lose power.

boys, don't make me take my belt off

Why doesn't Dominion Power have tree trimming crews to alleviate the constant power outages every time the wind blows or it rains or snows??? Oh yes...that would be pro-active rather than re-active, having the crews clean up after a storm. If you build a new home, the code says you must bury the electric line...right from the big ole power pole at the front of your property. Dominion Power does not seem to be able to self regulate, so maybe some government needs to assist them serving their customers. God knows they charge enough for electricity. OOPS...guess government can't help...they won't even let me put up a wind generator to compete with this monopoly.

Hold your hat here's comes the next storm -just heard thunder.

from Accuweather :

in effect until Thursday, Aug 5, 2:45 PM






Gasbag, not quite sure the fate of your mother's house is ironic...

It's perhaps a rare event--two storms in a row, two incidents of downed trees at the same location playing out in similar ways.

Irony would be if only topped trees fell on your mother's house while non-topped trees stayed intact. (As I'm guessing that you're okay with tree-topping).

ive noticed that a lot of people seem to think that trimming trees and putting power lines underground would be a good idea, which you know its an awesome idea and i dont understand why it hasnt been done seeing as the power companys usually have the ability to trim trees that are in the way of lines, regardless of who they belong to ( at least that is how it is where i am from orginally) but my big question is, why on earth do they plant trees directly UNDER powerlines along 29, take the office buildings on 29 n near the forest lakes neighbor hood, eventually those trees will grow and will do so through the power lines and cause more problems for the people in charlottesville.

Nah. Better solution is Dow Chemicals Co. new solar shingles, coming out in 2011 (they hope). Re-roof with solar shingles, you are self-sufficient in power. Then you can spend your spare time and money planting trees. Absurd to think you can keep trees from planting themselves under power lines: hardwoods in particular are prolific. Go look at all the hundreds of little ash tree seedlings that seeded themselves in the McGuffy Center lawn just his year.

Very Old Timer

"They constantly trim trees, however they meet resistance from tree huggers so they can only go so far. Also, they are not allowed to trim trees on private property until it is contacting the wires."

Rot. Complete. Total. Absolute. ROT. Just typical ideological spew. I know of cases where the power company was called by private owners to warn them about tree limbs and large trees on their private property, ad the company did nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada.

And wouldn't ya know it, in each case, not long after, the lines were knocked down.

I have never heard of anybody telling me they didn't want the power company to come and trim their trees back from the power lines. The only person bothered was one whose yard was destroyed. The company brought in one of their biggest trucks instead of a smaller one, bogged down to the axles instantly. They then proceeded to tear everything up trying to get out, instead of waiting for another truck to give them a tow. Then they left the yard that way.

In reference to preventative maintenance by Dominion Virginia Power, I have one large tree in my entire yard. During the storms and high winds, it bends over and slaps against the power lines serving the neighborhood. Dominion had a tree removal crew on site this spring preparing to take it down. For whatever reason, the crew suddenly disappeared and I haven't heard a word from Dominion since. It now seems as if they will deal with this tree only after it causes a power outage.

I think we should all apologize to the power lines that were fallen on by trees. Trees just stand in the way of progress waiting for hugs from hippies/regulators. If you trees would like to grow up and become part of the solution, let yourselves be cut and made into valuable timber. As we said in the old days (right, "Very Old Timer"?)
"Hey Tree! Get a JOB!"

It is not the law in Virginia. Everything depends on whether or not it is an "act of god." If the tree was precarious and your mother had formally complained to the neighbor and the neighbor did not respond then she created a liability. Her insurance would cover it. If you want a better example imagine the tree fell from her yard to the street and killed a pedestrian.

You cannot call the power company and expect them to take down a tree in YOUR yard that is precarious. It is not their job, nor should it be. They are only allowed to trim within very strict easement areas. Many trees that fall on lines are 20 feet deep in YOUR yard. If they went in and did a preemptive trim there would be hell to pay.

The guys in the trucks working for Dominion Power are remarkably forthcoming when engaged in conversation. They've been telling me for years (I have the habit of stopping to talk with them when they're fixing outages) that the company has cut back on its local maintenance staff, does more outsourcing to subcontractors, and did so to save money since they found it cheaper to fix things after a storm than to proactively clear trees. They have also been telling me they encounter so much pushback from property owners and negative publicity over tree clearing, that they have found it less of a bother to simply avoid the hassles and legal challenges involved in asserting their rights as rights-of-way holders.

Whatever tree trimming they now do is done mostly when there are no leaves out since property owners are less prone to notice the "mutilation" of their precious trees.

I don't think there are any conspiracies; it's just a shift in the culture and it's not only local, but is a problem in other areas as well and not just power lines rights-of-way. Roadsides are now impinged upon up to the pavement by trees which are in VDOT's right of way, should have been kept mowed back, but have been allowed to metastasize to the point where visibility is restricted and people are at risk of hitting them even when just slightly going off the pavement. Oh well, it's just part of the general decline in consensus about keeping things in order...

How exactly do you trim whole trees. And when you have microbursts trimming branches won't help when whole trees fall on the power lines. No you can't cut down all the trees that might possibly fall on a power line.

The irony of it all! Another large tree from a neighbors property came down on my mother's house during the storm today. Again, her insurance company is responsible for removing the tree and all of the new damage done to her home by this tree.

Yes it seems to be very expensive to bury power lines. Well get started on it! Little by little.

Tired of power outages every winter and summer.

If Dominion makes their power cheap and reliable, we'll continue being customers, but once solar/wind/Mr. Fusion takes off, they're in trouble otherwise.

Scissor boy,

Everything you are saying is what you think what he said, not what he posted on this forum.

He can either speak clearly, or stop making ideological statements.

The lightning isn't the issue. The point is the power company has access to property to deal with problems should they wish to work with the property owners, which contradtics his statement.

If you don;t want to be misunderstood, speak clearly.

Very Old Timer, I very clearly said that my tree is HEALTHY. If an Act of God takes it down, I have no liability in where it falls or what it damages.

The trees that came down on top of my mothers house and walls were also healthy. There wasn't a thing my mother could do to make the neighbor top them or take them down.

old timer...

seems like you are the one full of hogwash.

I think he was saying that the power company does not have the right to come into your yard and trim trees unless they are touching wires.

I think he is saying that tree huggers demand that trees ne planted along roads and such underneath powerlines and that when they fall down they are replaced only to repeat the process once they are grown.

I think he said that a lot of the trees that fall are way back on peoples property and fall into the right of way and that the power company cannot possibly know which tree might fall and if they cut down a tree in your yard premptively you would be upset.

I don't know what the very old timer thinks about the lightning strike.. but my question is should the power company have cut down a healthy tree just in case it gets struck by lightning?

There is a balance between trees and power lines. The balance should include not planting trees underneath power lines.

Very Old Timer

"Imagine the uproar and lawsuits if you came home from work and found out that Dominion power had cut down a tree is YOUR yard (not in the right of way) because it could potentially knock over power lines."

A very nice non-sequitor in your attempt to evade being called on your ideological claptrap and intellectual dishonesty.

You claimed that supposed 'treehuggers' prevented Dominion from trimming trees. Then you made a claim that Dominion cannot access private property to trim trees until the limbs are on the lines.

The first is patently untrue, the second a question of property rights that can be dealt with if both parties are agreeable.

I now first hand of one case where the power company was invited several times to trim back or cut down a tree by the private property owner out of fear of the power lines. The tree was healthy, and the property owner had no obligation to do anything. The tree was also many yards away from the line.

The power company didn't do it. The tree was truck by lightening, took out several poles and a couple of blocks with it.

So, no, you are full of hogwash, and your anger and blathering doesn't change anything.