Dominion Undergrounding Utilities Update

Neighbors –

Several of you sent us questions for the Dominion rep.  We forwarded those along, and received the following replies (in blue):

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Please forgive me for being so behind with my response.  Prior to Thanksgiving, I called around trying to find a location to host a meeting.  I have not locked down a location, so I believe an email response is going to have to be sufficient for now.  With the holidays quickly approaching, it may be best to meet with those homeowners who have questions on an individual basis to make sure their questions are answered appropriately.

  1. Exact location of Easement: Sounds like there still might be a question ‎as to how far into our properties the easement goes–whether it’s 5 feet into our yards from the existing road or 20 feet, eg. Our road right of way may impact this (ie how far does the road right of way extend onto the property, and does Dominion have to go beyond the end of the road right of way to for their easement–the farther onto the property the bigger the concern presumably). This could make a difference to people with homes closer to the road and could impact landscaping, hedges, etc. I am working with our right of way contractors to determine the final answer to this question.  The easement boundaries were initially drawn 15’ from the road edge, however they are doing more research to distinguish the road right of way from the actual property line.  I will follow up with you once their research is complete.
  1. Scope of the Easement agreement we sign:

It’s my understanding that the majority of the work is done using “boring” technology under our yards, but the drill has to get underground from somewhere, so they should also help us understand what, if any, digging /trenching ‎we are allowing through our yards? You are correct, the majority of the job will be done using boring (also known as guide drilling).  There will be pits dug along the cable route so they can install the cable correctly.  We can work with the construction contractors to be better identify those locations once a final design is complete.  All areas where land disturbance takes place will be restored using seed and straw.  I would also like to mention that pits will be dug at the transformer locations so they can properly install and terminate (make connections inside the transformer).  These locations will also be restored using seed and straw.

Also,  ‎if we give them easement, for this project, do they only have easement for 3 feet under our yards? Or do they have the ability to come back later and dig thru our yards from any point along the easement without consent from the property owner? If so, what assurances we will have to be sure they return our landscaping and yards to a mutually acceptable level. Once an easement is signed, it gives Dominion the right to install, access and maintain our facilities on your property.  The easement is not limited to 3’ below grade.  It covers us regardless of the depth of the cable.  That being said, it is standard for Dominion to install primary cable approximately 3’ below the surface and only go deeper under certain circumstances that are typically addressed prior to construction. 

If there is a power outage or an equipment failure (equipment failure is less common with underground than overhead facilities) the crews have the right to come on the property and restore power without notifying the property owner.  However, most construction crews will knock on the property owner’s door to notify them of the work taking place. 

If there is planned work in the area, customers will receive notification prior to work being done on their property.  This notification typically occurs through an automated phone call.  Whether the work is due to an emergency, or is a result of planned work, the property will be restored once the work is complete.

  1. Potential impact of the drilling?

If they are boring in some parts at less than 3 feet, will they impact root structures of landscaping/ hedges, etc? What are our if they damage our landscaping during this process, or later repairs, how are we covered to make sure they pay for repairing/ replacing trees/ hedges, etc that get damaged?

The minimum depth cable will be installed is approximately 2’.  This is the dept that services to the home are installed.  A service is the line that runs from our transformer to the meter base on the side of a house.  Prior to design and construction, site visits are made to determine the cable route.  The route is strategically chosen to avoid the major root system of a tree and most of the time to prevent any permanent damage.  However, if damage is caused to landscaping/trees/hedges, we are responsible for rectifying the situation.

Please feel free to continue sending questions as you receive them.

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If you have additional questions please leave them in the comments for this post, and we will forward to Dominion for answering.

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