The storms that brought wind gusts over 70 miles per hour were the worst “in years,” said an executive with the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative. More than 15,000 Loudoun County residents and businesses lost power Friday and Saturday.
On Monday, some residents still had to seek refuge with family members or neighbors, while numerous businesses were forced to remain closed. As of 5:20 p.m., there were still 1,850 Dominion Energy customers and 45 NOVEC customers in Loudoun without power.
“Those winds with near-hurricane strength blew countless trees on power lines, broke poles and cross arms, and damaged transformers,” said Dan Swingle, vice president of system operations for the Manassas-based, not-for-profit electric co-op that serves part of Loudoun County.
Crews were still working to remove trees and broken equipment on Monday. Then employees could reconnect lines and install new equipment.
“It’s time-intensive, and when you’re dealing with chainsaws and electricity, it’s dangerous,” Swingle said. “We know customers are anxious to have power restored, but we ask for their patience. ”
Crews from as far away as Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee worked in Loudoun and other areas to restore power. Many more Loudoun residents and businesses receive electricity from Richmond-based Dominion than NOVEC.
Across Dominion’s service area, which includes much of Virginia and North Carolina, more than 690,000 Dominion customers lost service, said Chuck Penn, media relations manager. The storms ranked fifth as far as impacting the most Dominion users, behind hurricanes Floyd, Isabel and Irene, and the 2012 Super Derecho, he said.
“We fully expect to have all customers’ power restored by [Tuesday] evening,” Penn said.
About 565 critical facilities, such as fire and police stations and hospitals, were affected in Dominion’s service area.