Power restored after massive outage

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Power is now restored to thousands of customers. The outage stretched from downtown Richmond to Henrico County. They were left in the dark because of a problem with a transformer.

The disruption in service couldn't have happened at a worse time. It was in the middle of the day and impacted business at the Department of Motor Vehicles and City Hall.

When the power went out at City Hall the backup generator kicked in. That allowed for elevators and the call center to continue running, but there was no computer power. Customers who showed up for services such as paying bills -- were asked to wait or come back another time.

"We didn't allow people to come in from outside and go to upper floors. But City Hall was not closed down completely at any point," said Tammy Hawley, Richmond spokesperson for the Mayor's office.

The massive outage, which impacted 11,000 Dominion customers, also disrupted services at the Federal Building. It's where Ellen Nagy works.

"It's never happened before - not even in a storm. We were like, 'Hmm. What's going on?'" said Nagy.

Dominion Power blames the outage on a transformer at one of its substations. The company rerouted power around that transformer to get customers back online. At the Department of Motor Vehicles on Broad Street -- the outage caused services to come to quick halt.

"We followed our typical procedure and notified customers we weren't able to service them at the time because of a power outage. We asked them to come back, go online, or visit another location," said Pam Goheen, DMV spokesperson.

Even when power was restored at the DMV -- customers had to wait a little longer.

"It takes a while for computers to get back up and running," said Goheen.

At this point Dominion says it's unclear what caused the problem with that transformer. Power was out for about 90 minutes or so. Dominion power says crews are working to pinpoint what exactly went wrong with that transformer.

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