Wednesday, October 1, 2014

230,000 volt power line Community Outreach Event

Dominion power held a "community outreach" event this evening in Alexandria. I was impressed that they had 3 police officers there, just in case.

I really wasn't hoping to play stump the chump, but here are a couple highlights of my unanswered questions:

Dominion: "How did you not know hundreds of new homes were going in to Potomac Yard, when you installed the power to said homes?"

Dominion: "When you looked at installing power for hundreds of new homes in a green field build, why didn't you look at installing a major interconnect when you could have done it as part of the build instead of ripping up streets that were put in two years ago?"

Dominion: "Why didn't you coordinate to put this under the bus lanes that were built THIS YEAR?"

Dominion: When Dominion representative said community outreach was extensive "Well, I live on one of the proposed routes and my home has a street number on the front. How did I just hear about this last week? You couldn't have sent the summer interns to walk the routes, collect the addresses, and send notification?" Dominion's response, "No, we don't do that."

Dominion: "If you haven't done a cost estimate for the option to put the line underwater in the Potomac, how could you possibly put that forward as an option.... NEXT MONTH?"

Dominion: "Why aren't you working on demand reduction efforts? Why aren't you part of the Nest demand response network?"

Dominion: "How will the Metro bridge going across the CSX tracks interact with that overhead line option running down said tracks?"

PJM: When PJM told me the new 230,000 volt line is a result of reliability legislation "Oh, so you rely on the government to tell you what adequate reliability is, and you couldn't forecast growth in this area 10 years ago?"

PJM: "If you have 10 year growth estimates, why don't you align major distribution projects with major build projects in the area?"

PJM pointed me to their website for data around what was driving consumption. I asked specifically what the drivers were for increased consumption, and only could get generalized answers such as, more homes, and more businesses.

Interestingly when I went to PJM's website when I got home, I found the original white paper from Feb of this year. Page four is below:

What I found interesting here is the confusing language regarding where the problem is located.
Single contingency (NERC category B) and several N-1-1 contingency overloads were identified in the northern Virginia portion of the Dominion system adjacent to the Washington, D.C metropolitan area in the PEPCo transmission zone.
The presentation on the website shows overloading in the segment between Glebe and South Carlyle.

Found HERE

My question is if there's already a line between Glebe and South Carlyle, why not lay additional capacity where that line is already located? Why not put in an additional 230kv line between Glebe and South Carlyle in the same infrastructure and then connect South Carlyle to Jefferson to Potomac River?

There is already a line there. There is no transformer station going in between Glebe and Potomac River, so the line doesn't offer greater flexibility, and Dominion already has the land and lines laid along a route. Why not just add more capacity along that route, and make the much shorter new build connection to Potomac River station from there?? There would also be the benefit of connecting more capacity to the N Alexandria substation.

Here's a close up:
Hot Spot Identifies Optimal Route

Dominion, see that red line where demand is exceeding capacity, and you already have a line in place? Just add more capacity along that route. It gives you more long term flexibility when you include N Alexandria, South Carlyle, Jefferson St, and Potomac River stations all on the increased capacity line. Why would you not want the new interconnection to connect multiple substations along the route?

Oh, and the data center comments that City Council has brought up... Yeah, they're in the PJM white paper. Fun that Dominion is saying that data centers aren't what is driving the demand increases.


  1. Hi,

    My husband and I are considering a condo near the Braddock Metro. Overall, are you pleased with your purchase/neighborhood? If you had it to do over, what would you do differently? Any intell on the condos?

    We would appreciate any input.


  2. Well it's a long story, and it sounds selfish, but I would never buy a home directly from Pulte again without seeing it first. I would only buy one that the owner worked all the kinks out of, and I could see what I was getting.

    What Pulte built for me didn't match the floor plan, so you have to be careful. The contract is one sided, and they can almost build anything they want. That was the first indication that it wasn't going to go well.

    The year long post purchase reconstruction phase was miserable. I know people that used all their vacation days trying to get Pulte to fix things. I took multiple weeks off. The stress is substantial, and Pulte isn't easy to work with. My perspective was that I was going to force them to get it right. I got to the 90% solution, and then they were breaking more than they were fixing every time they were in the house. Fix drywall.... cut electrical lines... They're just silly. I spent an entire week with them just tearing up the floor and relaying it because what they installed the first time was destroyed in construction. Supposedly they were going to pay me for the week of lost access to my kitchen, but the check never showed up.

    So, no, I wouldn't buy from Pulte unless you're ready for a year of chaos. If you can see what you're getting, and that's what you want, I'd go for it. If you're buying sight unseen, I wouldn't do it unless you're willing and able to put in the time.

  3. Also, it's hard to beat the location. It really is a great place to live, once you get everything fixed.

  4. Thanks for the insight! We are trying to scope out all the options. What we are looking at is for delivery in April. But, we are hesitant to "pull the trigger" just yet. We are trying to get all the information that we can.

    We are trying to accommodate issues of space (me) and metro access (him).

    Thanks so much for your response! And great job on staying with it to get it fixed!

    1. And one last bit of follow up: How is the soundproofing? Do you hear planes, trains, metro, and/or neighboors?