Contact: NOVEC Public Relations, 1-888-335-0500, firstname.lastname@example.org
MANASSAS, Va. March 6, 2018 -- Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and most electric utilities from Virginia to Maine have been working around the clock to restore electric service to millions of homes, schools and businesses after Winter Storm Riley's winds caused extensive damage March 2-4.
NOVEC line tech works on a utility pole in Fairfax Station to restore power service. Photo by Matt Robertson
NOVEC has restored service to most of its 40,000-plus customers who lost power during the storm, and is now pouring all its efforts into getting the lights on for approximately 250 more customers by midweek.
"The windstorm snapped utility poles, broke cross arms, and slammed trees onto power lines all over our territory," states Dan Swingle, NOVEC system operations vice president. "Our most difficult challenge at this point is broken utility poles. Windblown trees and branches broke more than 100 of them."
Swingle explains why each pole requires many hours to replace once crews reach the outage location: "We have to cut away branches; remove power lines, transformers, and other equipment on the pole; erect and secure a new pole; and then reattach lines and equipment. It's time-intensive and dangerous work. We ask customers to be patient while crews do this job."
What to do if a power outage occurs
- Either call NOVEC at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500, follow the text-message instructions, or report an outage at www.novec.com. Have your account number ready.
- Warning: Stay away from downed power lines and poles and the area around them. Be aware that even metal storm debris hiding a live downed power line can shock or electrocute anyone who comes in contact with it. Notify NOVEC immediately about down lines at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.
- Use flashlights, lanterns, or battery-powered candles instead of real candles. If you use real candles, keep them away from children and flammable household furnishings.
- Open freezers and refrigerators only when necessary. Put needed perishable food in coolers with ice or ice packs.
- Warning: Only use a portable generator, camp stove, or charcoal grill outdoors to prevent creating deadly carbon-monoxide fumes indoors. Hire a professional to install a whole-house generator because an incorrectly installed generator could back-feed electricity onto the grid and seriously harm line techs who are trying to restore service.
- After power is restored, please wait five to ten minutes before turning on major appliances and heating systems.
Learn more about storm preparation and outages at www.novec.com/outageinfo.