Area spared the worst in storms

Published 10:18 am Saturday, August 7, 2010

FRANKLIN—Western Tidewater fared better than its neighbors to the north during a round of severe thunderstorms Thursday night.

The heavy rain, lightning and wind knocked out electricity for 220,000 Dominion Virginia Power customers. By 3 p.m. Friday, service had been restored for 190,000 of the affected customers.

Dominion spokesman Dan Genest said Friday afternoon that only one customer in Southampton County was without electricity. He couldn’t give an exact number of customers affected or how long restoration took in Isle of Wight or Southampton counties.

Dominion has a total of more than 18,000 customers in the two counties.

He did, however, say the region is served by Dominion’s Chuckatuck office, which had more than 3,600 customers in the dark during the height of the storm. That number had dwindled to about 1,900 by Friday afternoon.

“The storm was not near as bad on the south side of the James River as it was on the Peninsula in Hampton, Newport News and Williamsburg,” Genest said.

Michael Stoneham, director of Franklin Power and Light, said four customers in the city were briefly in the dark Thursday night in the Clay Street area after a transformer fuse was damaged. Crews repaired the damage and restored power shortly, he said.

“We made out fine,” he said. “We’ve got a good system.”

Neighboring utilities and contractors are providing additional help as Dominion crews work to restore power. On Friday, the company expected restoration work to continue into the weekend.