The official start to hurricane season is just days away. Although it officially doesn't begin until June 1, Dominion is urging all customers to prepare now for the upcoming summer storm season. Everyone can take advantage of the state's sales tax holiday from May 25-31 to stock their emergency kits with supplies.
"During this time of year, it makes sense for everyone to have a well-stocked emergency preparedness kit," said David Rives, senior vice president-Distribution at Dominion Virginia Power. "We will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power in the wake of a hurricane or powerful storm, but prolonged power outages are possible. Advance preparation can help ensure our customers and their families are ready."
Under the Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, residents can save money on items that will help them prepare for potential power outages. Batteries, flashlights, bottled water, coolers, tarps, plastic sheeting and duct tape will be exempt from the state sales tax, along with portable generators, chainsaws and accessories. A complete list of tax-exempt items related to storm preparation can be found at www.tax.virginia.gov/sites/tax.virginia.gov/files/media/documents/2014%20qualifying%20items.pdf.
In addition, Dominion suggests your kit include a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water, first aid kit, battery-powered radio, any necessary medications, a fully charged cell phone, extra clothes and a blanket. To learn more about stocking an emergency preparedness kit, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8kv2J4ha_U.
Dominion works year-round with state and local authorities to make sure it responds quickly to any kind of emergency. As the start of hurricane season approaches, Dominion conducts refresher training and emergency preparedness and response drills.
Last year, Dominion implemented a new marking system for downed wires. Company crews will investigate all downed wire reports, determine ownership and then contact the owner utility after ensuring that the wire does not pose an eminent threat to public safety. After major storms, customers may see downed lines marked with colored flagging tape-yellow tape around a wire indicates it is part of Dominion's system; orange tape around a wire indicates that it belongs to another utility.
Regardless, Dominion reminds customers to treat all downed lines and anything touching them as energized and dangerous. Be sure your children know the danger and keep your pets safe as well.
Before a storm approaches, here are a few things to remember:
Be sure your phone number is up to date on your account. You can update the number online through Manage Your Account or by calling our phone number update line at (800) 222-0401.
Sign up for Dominion text alerts by visiting the website at https://www.dom.com/residential/dominion-virginia-power/outage-center/text-alerts to choose the region you would like to receive alerts for and follow Dominion on Facebook and Twitter.
If you experience an outage:
After reporting an outage, turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Do not hook them directly to the electrical system of your home unless done so by a licensed and bonded electrical contractor. Electricity could flow backward onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. The correct, safe technique is to follow the instructions provided with the generator and always use proper-sized extension cords.
Additional information is also available on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management's website at: http://www.vaemergency.com/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 24,600 megawatts of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,455 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 928 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves utility and retail energy customers in 13 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com.