ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Some relief is in store for neighbors in Alexandria who say they've been dealing with power outages way too often. Dominion Energy is committing to a multi-million-dollar investment to improve reliability.
Dominion energy promises $17 Million over the next 3 years to help boost reliability in Alexandria. The money will fund 20 improvement projects over the next 3 years.
The announcement came Tuesday night, during a city council meeting. Many Councilmembers were unhappy with the lack of a written plan but Mayor Justin Wilson told WUSA9 Dominion promised to send city leaders a plan in writing by the end of the month.
Wilson said he’s cautiously optimistic. A long-time critic of the Dominion, the Mayor has blasted the power company for 16 power outages in an 8-month span back in 2020.
Dominion maintains Alexandria has good reliability, but Wilson said there are pockets of repeat failures.
“We have some neighborhoods and areas that have been hit really, really hard over the last several years,” said Wilson.
Del Ray is one of the hard-hit areas. Wilson said the worst outage happened during the biggest event of the year - Art on the Avenue.
Restaurant owners along Mount Vernon Avenue told WUSA9 back in October that just as the festival was getting started, the lights went out. Organizers estimated 50,000 visitors filled the streets. They were left in the dark and so were dozens of local businesses.
Dominion Energy called it a blue-sky event: no weather issues, but the outage was due to a faulty underground switch and cable equipment.
Dominion has already replaced over a thousand feet of cable in the area and as part of its pledge, Dominion will create an events team to make sure the Arts on the Avenue black-out – doesn’t happen again.
Robert Lock, Vice President of Distribution Operations for Dominion Energy said part of that will be a 24/7 team dedicated to the event day of and another team working proactively.
“Going out before the event begins and looking at the feeder circuits and the electrical infrastructure to make sure that it's in good shape and everything is as it should be,” explained Locke, “There's no branches leaning on wires or anything underground that would, you know, cause concern for us.”
“This is the financial commitment that you're going to make, that's great,” said Mayor Wilson, “Now, let's translate that actual project so that residents can understand when some relief is potentially coming in, they're in their neighborhood.”
Dominion said they’ll continue to work with city leaders on sharing maps of the power grid and identifying the first five reliability projects that will get underway in the next year.