What you should know
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What We Do
Electricity is the most easily controllable form of energy, but that does not make it harmless. We take extensive precautions to protect our employees, contractors, customers and the public from electrical mishaps. Among them:
Emergency Action Plans
In 2018, we updated our emergency action plans for our facilities and workplaces to minimize the potential for harm during natural disasters, fires, terrorist threats and other crises. The plans stipulate responsibilities for key leaders, spell out notification and evacuation plans and define other procedures to follow to keep everyone safe.
We deploy fencing around generation plants, substations and other elements of the transmission and distribution system. Appropriate signage marks all relevant areas in and around our substations and switchyards. We maintain a concerted effort to harden boundaries and implement sophisticated asset monitoring around substation perimeters.
Where transmission lines and towers are hard to reach because of terrain or weather events, we use FAA-authorized service providers to inspect them. This program improves safety, shortens the time needed to patrol transmission lines, and reduces the need to use helicopters during inspections. We are also testing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) to inspect remote distribution lines.
Tree Trimming and Right-of-Way Maintenance
Falling trees or branches can bring power lines down with them, and downed power lines present a significant safety hazard. Power outages also can affect the safety of those who rely on powered medical equipment such as home ventilators that help with breathing.
Dominion Energy manages this risk by regularly trimming trees and vegetation around overhead power lines in all our service territories. In keeping with company policy, persons working on power lines to perform tree trimming activities must be certified through company-approved training courses provided by qualified training authorities. Safety specialists at our work sites have the authority to stop work at any time if they believe safety is compromised.
For several years, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized our company’s use of best practices by naming us a Tree Line USA utility.
We inspect utility poles on a 12-year cycle, testing them at the ground level where rot could occur to ensure their structural integrity. During our first cycle, our rejection rate was roughly 8 percent. Today, the rejection rate is lower than 2 percent. In 2018, we inspected 117,000 wood poles to make sure they meet our safety standards. This is a voluntary program.
Call Before You Dig
Some electric wires run underground. To avoid mishap, we strongly urge members of the public to call the 811 phone number to make sure they do not dig near our electric infrastructure.