Dominion Virginia Power/Dominion North Carolina Power provides electricity to more than 2.4 million customers through its local delivery companies in Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The utility’s 30,000-square-mile territory has 245 stations which serve as tie points with PJM.
Dominion Power’s system includes 6,500 miles of transmission lines, nearly 54,000 miles of distribution lines, 790 substations, 566,000 transformers, and 1.1 million utility poles.
Maintaining and upgrading its infrastructure is a constant process for Dominion Power, particularly when it comes to electric power poles. While a majority of its poles are wood, Dominion Virginia Power is converting many of these aging wood transmission poles to steel and starting to do so in targeted distribution areas for improved reliability and load capability.
The primary goal of the power pole replacement project is to improve reliability in a rural area where downed poles caused by inclement weather can result in significant outage time if they need to be replaced.
One project currently underway in Dominion Virginia Power’s Gloucester and Northern Neck service area will rebuild an existing 10-mile distribution line. For the electric power pole replacement project, crews are removing existing wood poles and erecting taller steel power poles to carry electric lines over existing trees, which will minimize power outages due to falling branches during storms or high winds.
The wood poles will be replaced with steel poles between Dominion Virginia Power’s Wan substation and the Mathews substation. Additionally, Dominion Virginia Power will place the steel power poles further from the main road.
Beyond reliability and load capacity, steel utility power poles offer a number of other benefits to Dominion Power and other utilities that range from longevity and lower life cycle costs to maneuverability and durability. According to Keith Lindemulder, chairman of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) Steel Utility Pole Task Group, “Utilities like Dominion Virginia Power with an extensive infrastructure gain longevity and labor savings when they replace wood poles with steel poles, or build new distribution or transmission lines with steel poles.”
Gloucester Mathews (Virginia) Gazette Journal: Dominion upgrading electrical service in Gloucester
Related Steel Pole Case Studies:
Carbon Power and Light, Saratoga, Wyoming
Bluebonnet Cooperative, Bastrop, Texas
Dominion Power System statistics gathered from https://www.dom.com/