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On anniversary of Hurricane Irene, VA power crews to Florida for storm relief

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) — Today marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Irene’s decent on Central Virginia, which caused mass power outages.  Dominion Virginia Power officials said they are already implementing lessons learned from Irene for future storms.  The electricity company is also using the experience to help those in the Gulf who are affected by Tropical Storm Isaac.

At this time, well over 100 crew members from Dominion Virginia Power–including contractors–have been dispatched to Florida to help with power outages caused by Isaac.

This time last year, Hurricane Irene left more than a million Dominion customers in the dark for days on end.  Nearly 400,000 customers were affected in the Richmond Metro area. 

However unlike foreseeable hurricanes officials said they also have to deal with unpredictable storms, similar to June’s Derecho–which were a series of thunderstorms that hit the area, leaving extensive power outages in its wake. 

For the traceable and the unpredictable storms the electricity company said they have an emergency operation plan in place, because the key is to think ahead in preparation for the next big storm.

“We have better planning, better coordination, working even better with other utilities that are helping us,” said Dominion Virginia Power Spokesperson Karl Neddenien.  “In June we had a major storm without preparation time that affected just over a million customers.  It took us about seven days to get the power back on so we have learned a lot of little things, a lot of little improvements.  But I think the biggest one is to respond quickly, respond thoroughly, practice for the emergencies so when it arrives you are ready and you know what you are doing.”

Power officials are also urging residents to have an emergency preparedness plan in place–to include flood insurance.  For more information, click here.