Underground Electric Power Lines

Underground Power Lines 

Status Update

Legislation was approved in the 2014 General Assembly session.  Governor McAuliffe signed the legislation into law which will be effective July 1, 2014.  Funding for this program will come from a special rate adjustment called a rider, and must be approved by the State Corporation Commission (SCC).

Dominion’s electrical network contains nearly 58,000 miles of “distribution” lines - smaller wires that carry electricity to homes and businesses.  Check out this diagram to help you understand how power lines in your community are arranged.  Dominion is relocating approximately 4,000 miles of the most outage prone overhead lines to underground throughout our service area.

View a video that describes the project to strategically place overhead tap lines underground.

Dominion Will Identify the Most Outage-Prone Lines

We are currently analyzing the overhead distribution system to determine which overhead tap lines throughout our service area are most vulnerable during major storms. Tap lines typically sustain the most damage during storms and require the highest number of repairs.

As these neighborhoods are identified, a project team will begin a comprehensive outreach process to work cooperatively with property owners and neighborhood groups on a plan for undergrounding portions of the lines.  Dominion will work cooperatively with property owners and neighborhood groups to obtain the rights necessary to perform the work.  All property owners along a tap line would have to agree on a plan so it could be implemented.

Benefits and Challenges

  • Undergrounding the overhead tap lines that are most vulnerable during major storms will benefit all customers by reducing the frequency and duration of outages in the most damage-prone neighborhoods.
  • When crews don’t have to make as many repairs after a storm, the time it takes to restore power to all customers is significantly reduced.
  • A faster restoration after a storm means that life returns to normal more quickly for homes and businesses across the area, decreasing the economic impact that major storms can have.
  • However, undergrounding is not a cure-all for power outages.  During a major storm, large numbers of customers could still be affected because most underground electric service connects to overhead lines and equipment which are exposed to weather, trees, animals and vehicle accidents.
  • While outages may still occur, the hardening of the most vulnerable parts of the distribution system will increase reliability overall.

For more information, check out these Frequently Asked Questions.  Additional information will also be provided as it becomes available.

NYSE : (April 17, 2014) D 70.67 -0.86