Dominion Disputes Worker Comments

By: Lisa Ferrari Email
By: Lisa Ferrari Email

March 14, 2007

Dominion Virginia Power employees are caught by our cameras saying they're "cutting corners" and doing things that aren't "kosher."

Dominion officials investigated and said their employees were misunderstood.

Dominion employees were restoring power to lines on Georgetown Road on March 5th, 2007.

With our cameras rolling two employees said some concerning things to our photographer:

Power Worker: “There are things that we do to get the lights back on that are really not all that kosher.”

Power Worker: “It's a safety thing and we are cutting a bunch of corners so we get these lights back on quickly.”

Power Worker: “If that shows up on Channel 19 News and our supervisor sees it, these boys are gonna’ get fired.”

The worker then asks his supervisor to step in.

Supervisor: “These people do not - They are nervous with the camera on. “

Photographer: “What are they nervous about?”

Power Worker: “Just get a cop down here.”

Concerned about what that worker and his supervisor said, we asked Dominion officials to view our tape Friday. They told us their people were in no way cutting corners with materials or with safety.

“They were following the rules,” said Phil Sparks of Dominion Power.

Sparks said our cameras were just making their workers nervous and they needed to be able to do their job.

However, we still wondered why their employees would use those words and wanted an outside opinion.

We drove to Verona to the Virginia Department of Labor, the government entity who oversees power companies. They looked at our video and said they saw no obvious safety violations.

But they said just because they weren't violating government rules doesn’t mean they couldn't have been violating Dominion safety rules.

The vice president of Dominion stopped by our offices Wednesday to say they completed their investigation and found nothing wrong. “Maybe its best put simply this way. We wish our employees in that case had exercised the same level of care with their words that they did with the performance of their work,” said Dominion Vice President Rodney Blevins.

Dominion also said because their investigation found nothing wrong they will not be taking any disciplinary action against any worker.

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