News

F.C. Council Slams Dominion Power Response to Outage Crisis

Falls Church Mayor Nader Baroukh and Vice Mayor David Snyder did not mince words slamming Dominion Virginia Power for its failure to respond to the power outage crisis in a timely and efficient manner since the “derecho” storm Friday night knocked out power to over a half-million in Northern Virginia alone, and to 82 percent of Falls Church.

Baroukh said that more homes, as a percentage, were without power — including many that remain so as of this writing — than any other jurisdiction in Dominion Power’s service area.

In comments to the News-Press following their public ones at tonight’s City Council meeting, both Baroukh and Snyder lashed out at Dominion Power for its indifference to security and infrastructure issues associated with the City’s water system.

“It took 40 hours for Dominion to restore power to all the City’s pumps on its water system,” Snyder intoned. “It took them more than 20 hours to restore one low-pressure pump, which resulted in the issuance of a “boil water” alert being sent out from the City. The order to boil water arose from persistent low pressure in that pump, and it had a devastating impact on restaurant and other retailers in the Tysons Corner mall and adjacent areas.

“Dominion Power said that protection of critical infrastructure was their first priority, but if water delivery systems are not critical infrastructure, what is?,” an angry Snyder said.

He said he is contemplating a formal complaint with the State Corporation Commission which has oversight over the operations of Dominion.

Baroukh said that he was frustrated by the lack of concrete information anyone he talked to at Dominion, nothing which could provide for “a range for planning” by the City.

He also had major concerns for the regional breakdown of the 911 system, and said he spoke with Fairfax County’s Board Chair Sharon Bulova about that. Responsibility for the 911 system lies with Verizon in the region.

Falls Church Assistant City Manager Cindy Mester told the N-P that officials from Dominion are tentatively due to meet with members of the City staff to review these and other matters in the third week of July.