Who Sets Priorities?

Who Sets Priorities?

To the Editor:

My wife, son and I are your constituents, living on Lyndale drive in Wellington Heights. Like many of our neighbors, we have been without power since last Friday evening. Our immediate area — including Lyndale Drive and the next street over — Woodcliff Drive — were especially hard hit by the storms — just driving up our streets will make it very clear how hard we were hit. There is what looks to be a major power line that is down directly in front of our driveway and house — it dips to within 2 feet of the ground, and crosses from one side of Lyndale to the other right in front of our house and partially blocks our driveway — I am able to exit my driveway by squeezing to one side. There are numerous other such situations — down lines — in our immediate area. Neither my family nor any of my neighbors have even seen a Dominion Power or other power company vehicle drive through our neighborhood, much less actually working on repairs.

I don’t have sufficient knowledge about these types of situations to accurately judge how long is too long for repairs, etc. — other than to make the statement, based upon emotion, that when it’s 95 degrees out and 89 in your house, anything more than a few hours is too long — and this is not the time to get into a discussion of whether people would be willing to pay twice the cost for power in exchange for significantly quicker repairs or whether utilities should have better plans and resources in place for so-called “100 year events,” but I do have several questions that I hope you can shed some light on.

  • Once hospital, fire and police stations, etc. are restored, how is it decided what neighborhoods get power ahead of others? One of the most frustrating things is to talk to people who lost power when we did, but had it restored on Saturday, Sunday, etc. This is a different issue that why some areas never lost power at all — our neighborhood has a lot — a real lot — of big old trees — which is one of the reasons we all love to live here. But with those trees come outages when storms hit. I get that. But when everyone loses power, why does Hollin Hall, for example, get their power restored before we do?

  • Related to question 1 above, why have none of us even seen anyone from the power company in our neighborhood? Not even a repair truck driving through? Besides for being an indication of where we stand in the pecking order and of how far away we are from getting power back on, when you’re sitting in your 89 degree family room its very discouraging to feel as if your neighborhood is virtually being ignored.

  • As I mentioned above, we have a power line down (to within 2 feet of the ground) and crossing our street just in front of our house and driveway. I have no idea if this wire is “live” and don’t intend to finds out. I have reported this line to Dominion, and attempted to contact them again and again about it. This would seem to me to be a priority safety situation — doing something about this downed line (and others I’ve seen in our neighborhood) would seem to be a safety priority, separate and apart from restoring our power. So — why did Dominion give priority to fully restoring power in areas that did not have these type of obvious safety issues instead of addressing safety issues such as downed lines?

  • Dominion is still giving no specific information about when we can expect power to be restored — other than the useless general statement about 85 percent being restored by today. Do you have/can you get any more specific information about when we will have our power on?

  • What about putting the lines underground? Is anyone looking into whether this is a realistic goal? I understand that many people with underground lines in their immediate area also lost power — probably because there was an incident upstream from them where the equipment is above-ground. But if lines were underground, the downed wires, etc. would not occur with nearly as great frequency and while we might still lose power the sheer number of repairs that needed to be made to restore power would be significantly less, presumably resulting in much quicker power restoration.

Gary A. Sanders