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Dominion Energy installing new power lines, aimed to limit storm outages

Crews replaced power lines in Portsmouth Thursday, as part of an ongoing program to limit power outages throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Ronnie Walker says storms typically lead to power outages in his Port Norfolk community, but Dominion Energy is working to reduce the problem. 

On Thursday, crews spent hours updating power lines near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Portland Street. It's part of an ongoing project to reduce power outages across the Commonwealth, including roughly three miles of power lines in Portsmouth. 

Dominion Energy project manager Stephen Dulin said the company identified areas with longer outages times for the project. 

"Blackout for hours [...] sitting in the dark," said Walker. 

Walker and his family have lived on Florida Avenue for four years. In that time, he says he's had his share of power outages, especially during stormy weather.

"It'll just be winds and the power will go out," he said.  

He hopes that will no longer be the case the next time a storm rolls into town.

Dulin said the lines near Walker's home run electricity to more than 3,100 customers, and the area loses over 107 minutes of power due to outages per year. 

This work, he says, will cut that time in half.

"During the storm, when they come through and the outages break poles or cross arms, it takes time to repair those," said Dulin. "So it won't necessarily reduce all the outages but what it will do is it will reduce the amount of time it takes us to repair this circuit, should we encounter damages."

And that's good news for people like Walker.

"I’m just happy about it. My power is not off. My food is not going bad or my refrigerator. My dog is not sleeping in the dark," he said.  

According to Dulin, Dominion Energy will work to update 94 miles of power lines across Virginia in 2022 in order to help withstand situations like people experienced during strong winter storms last week.