Salt contamination causes power outages all over Hampton Roads

Posted at 5:07 PM, Oct 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-28 19:04:08-04

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - Widespread power outages across Hampton Roads and Northeastern North Carolina this week are due to salt contamination.

Bonita Billingsley Harris, Media/Community Relations Manager for Dominion Power says during the fall season, wind blows inland from the ocean and salt accumulates.

The rainy weather conditions on Tuesday made the problem even worse.

"Our equipment is designed to withstand that kind of problem when it has typical conditions that it’s facing. But we have just the right blend of conditions to create massive outages," Harris told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Wednesday.

"If we had a bigger downpour of rain then it would wash the salt contamination away but since we’ve had that steady, slow rain and drizzle that combined with the accumulation of salt is wreaking havoc on our system," she continued.

At one point, more than 56,000 outages had been reported but by Wednesday afternoon the number dropped to less than 4,000 as Dominion crews worked around the clock to restore power.

Because of all the outages, Dominion opened its Storm Center within the Regional Operations Center to assist in restoring power to customers efficiently.

"This is where all the trouble calls come in and they dispatch crews and the folks you see working in here are often the silent heroes who can reroute your power to another source so you never have to wait for a crew to come out and repair," Harris said.