Dominion Energy looks back on 2012 derecho

Changes Dominion made in response to the powerful 2012 storm.
Published: Jun. 29, 2017 at 11:13 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 2:28 PM EDT
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Dominion Energy describes the derecho of 2012 the third worst storm to hit Virginia after it knocked out power to one million people.

Five years later, the impact has changed the way they prepare for wind storms in the future.

"It wrecked havoc on the electric distribution grid. It smashed trees, downed power lines," said Shad Hedrick, the director of emergency preparedness of Dominion Energy.

In the Shenandoah Valley, more than a quarter million people lost power, surviving the blistering hot temperatures for days.

The storm demonstrated what wind can do and impacted how Dominion Energy prepares for storms in the future.

"We've made a lot of improvements in that time, in the past five years," said Hedrick.

Those improvements include better communication with customers online and the strategic underground program, targeting over 600 miles of outage prone areas.

"These are areas with overhead conductors that usually have a lot of trees and we've identified the most outage prone areas and we're focusing on installing those conductors underground," Hedrick added.

Dominion says the biggest help a customer can give is to simply report their power outage.

"A lot of times customers assume we know their power is out. We may in fact not know," said Hedrick.

In the case of any severe storm, Dominion Energy reminds customers to stay safe by staying at least 30 feet away from any down line, because you never know when that line could be energized.