July 19, 2013
The vice president of Dominion Virginia Power talked about moving overhead power lines underground at a forum in Richmond on Virginia's energy future. A spokesperson for Dominion says they are in the beginning steps of what could be a long process.
Thousands in central Virginia know all too well what it's like living without power after a storm and that's why some are hoping this moves forward.
"It's not a pretty situation we're losing power it seems like once a month," said William Espinosa who lives on Colthurst Drive in Charlottesville.
Dominion serves 2.3 million people and many others like Espinosa experience days to weeks without power after a storm hits central Virginia or even just a thunderstorm.
The problem is that many power lines go right through tree branches.
"It almost looks like they planned the power line route to make sure it hit every tree," said Espinosa.
Nathan Hord grew up off of Colthurst Drive. "We lost power before anyone else would," Hord said. "But currently I live in Willow Lake and the whole neighborhood is underground. During the big snowstorm in the middle of March when we had like 20 inches of snow, we lost power for two hours."
State regulators say putting overhead lines underground statewide would cost more than $80 billion.
"I think the question is why is it that how are you just looking at it now?" asked Espinosa.
If 20 percent of Dominion's worst-performing residential lines were put underground, it could reduce the number of repairs by 63 percent.
It could take a decade to complete the project.