Strengthening Electric Grid Reliability


Dominion Virginia Power announced plans on March 24, 2011, to spend more than $1.7 billion over about a two-year period to strengthen its electric grid, support growing demand for electricity and improve service reliability for its 2.4 million customers. Service reliability – as measured by time affected by an outage not caused by a major weather event – improved 15 percent between 2003 and 2010 for the average customer.

Dominion Virginia Power has approximately 61,000 miles of transmission and distribution power lines, 900 substations, 566,000 transformers and 1.1 million utility poles.

This video explains how Dominion Virginia Power is working with Virginia Tech and PJM to apply a SmartGrid technology called Synchrophasors to the electric transmission grid.

This group of reliability improvement projects began in 2010. Many were completed in 2011. They fall primarily into five categories:

  • Replacing or updating aging electric infrastructure, such as rebuilding the Mount Storm-Doubs transmission line, which also will increase its capacity by 66 percent;
  • Improving reliability performance through systematic maintenance, tree trimming and underground cable replacement, including reconditioning more than 140 miles of electric circuitry in northern Virginia;
  • Improving the performance of specific circuits and other equipment where customers have experienced higher-than-normal problems, as with a Richmond project to separate a circuit into more sections using additional fuses;
  • Investing in new and advanced electric technology such as automated switching and the smart fault indicators being installed in the Tidewater area, and
  • Supporting growth in the grid to accommodate new customers, such as data centers being built in northern Virginia, and the increased energy needs of current customers. In 1980, the average household had three small electronic devices; today, that number is 25.

Northern Virginia Projects

Some of our most critical transmission line projects are in Northern Virginia. The region's fast-paced growth is placing increasingly at risk Dominion's ability to meet the energy needs of our Northern Virginia customers.

To overcome this risk, and as an example, Dominion built a 65-mile transmission line that connects substations in eastern Frederick, southern Fauquier, western Prince William and eastern Loudoun counties. This line, approved by the SCC on October 7, 2008, brings power to the region and improves the overall reliability of the system. The line was placed in service in the summer of 2011, on time and under budget.

To meet the increased demand for electricity in western Loudoun County, Dominion Virginia Power also built a new 230,000-volt (230 kV) Pleasant View-Hamilton line to serve the areas west of Leesburg including Purcellville, Hamilton and Round Hill.

Dominion Virginia Power also constructed a new 230 kV transmission line that extends from Dominion's Remington Combustion Turbine (CT) facility in southern Fauquier County to the Gainesville Substation in Prince William County. The line was energized on May 9, 2012.

  • Learn more about ongoing Dominion Virginia Power transmission line projects.

We're certain that new transmission lines are the very best way to serve our Northern Virginia customers. They will prevent blackouts, provide important support for ongoing economic growth throughout the region and ensure the reliable delivery of electric power.

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