I normally don’t take notice of corporate awards and recognitions. That goes double for Dominion Virginia Power’s awards and recognitions, knowing that I will be accused of shilling for a sponsor of this blog. I make an exception this time because I want to address a point raised in the comments of a recent post, “Crunching the Numbers on Dominion Virginia Power.”
In that post I took a close look at three statistics that Dominion wanted to publicize because they put the company in a favorable light. I thought two of those numbers needed to be viewed in the context of the larger debate over Virginia energy policy, and I provided that context. However, I accepted the third without reservation — that customers have experienced on average a 10 percent improvement in electric power reliability since 2011. I wrote, “Dominion’s corporate culture places tremendous emphasis on reliability.”
I based that assessment on numerous interviews and visits to corporate facilities, but most particularly upon a tour of the company’s central operations center, where resources are marshaled and prioritized to deal with storm outages. Now, I’ll admit that I am no expert on utility operations, and I’m not saying that Dominion couldn’t do things better, but it is manifestly clear to me after interacting with the company for a year and a half that employees are imbued with the central mission of keeping the lights on.
By way of supporting evidence, I cite the presentation of the “Emergency Recovery Award” by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) for outstanding power restoration efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew.
The hurricane hit parts of North Carolina and Virginia on Oct. 8 with high winds and torrential rain, and knocked out power to 350,000 customers. Extensive flooding hindered the repair efforts. According to Dominion, the hurricane was one of the “top ten” storms the company has faced in its history. The company’s crews dedicated 113,704 hours to recovery work.
“The tireless work by Dominion Virginia Power crews to restore service following Hurricane Matthew exemplifies our industry’s commitment to customer service and safety,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn in granting the recognition. “The courageous and dedicated Dominion Virginia Power crews who faced dangerous conditions in the wake of this storm are greatly deserving of this terrific recognition.”
Dominion, like other electric utilities, is responsible for keeping the lights on. Most people probably understand that in the abstract, but rarely do they fully appreciate — as I did not before I started covering energy issues — what it takes to do that in practice. One can argue about Dominion’s environmental priorities, its passion for nuclear power, or any number of other things, but as a customer and a reporter, I don’t see how anyone can question the company’s commitment to providing reliable service.There are currently no comments highlighted.