Grove and Kingsmill residents whose homes sustained damage as a result of the Sept. 20 power surge can file a claim with Dominion Energy, an official announced at a James City County board of supervisors work session Wednesday.
David Vanderbloemen, the director of regional operation centers, emergency preparedness at Dominion Energy, explained to supervisors the utility company was working at its Kingsmill substation — one of three major ones it has in the Williamsburg region — and was upgrading its operating system when a programming error caused the power surge.
“Obviously we don’t have errors doing this work, very rarely,” Vanderbloemen said. “But obviously when you’re working with high voltage, errors can be consequential, and that’s what happened here.”
The error caused the transformer at the Kingsmill substation to ramp up to a high voltage from 3-6 p.m., Vanderbloemen said.
About 250 of the 3,900 customers hooked to the three circuits that feed the Grove and Kingsmill areas were affected, Vanderbloemen said.
On its website, Dominion Energy cautions the investigation is neither an admission of liability nor a guarantee of payment. The company’s claims department will investigate the claims and will make a determination of liability.
Still, Vanderbloemen said he was embarrassed about the power surge and “we acknowledge that the high voltage did cause some damages to some of your constituents and our customers.”
“We’re surprised that this got through,” Vanderbloemen said. “We’re doing a very thorough root cause analysis to determine what we can do in the future to make sure this one doesn’t happen again. So hopefully, it’ll be many, many more years before we have another one happen. Hopefully never. But anything we learn from this root cause analysis will be implemented to make sure nothing else happens.”
Write to: Dominion Energy Virginia/Dominion Energy North Carolina, Attn: Claims Department, P.O. Box 26666, Richmond, VA 23261.