Dominion spending $4B to improve, expand service

AP News
Posted: Jan 05, 2010 11:00 AM

Dominion Virginia Power said Tuesday that it is spending $4 billion over three years to improve and expand its ability to provide reliable electric service.

As part of those efforts, the Richmond-based utility said it is adding new gas-fired generating units and a hybrid coal station to keep up with growing demand.

In a letter to the company's 2.3 million customers, CEO Paul Koonce said Dominion also is focused on areas service reliability doesn't meet the company's systemwide average of 99.9 percent in 2009. That means, on average, the lights went on 99.9 percent of the time when customers flipped the switch.

Last year, Koonce said the company reconditioned more than 350 miles of electrical circuits, including installing more than 1,000 new poles. Koonce also touted that the company has invested more than $2 billion in recent years on pollution-control equipment to reduce emissions and meet more-stringent environmental requirements.

Dominion also said it is committed to meeting Virginia's goal of achieving 15 percent of its electricity sales from renewable sources in 2025 and reducing customer demand by 10 percent over the next 12 years.

Despite the recession, Koonce said customers continue to use more power and demand is expected to grow as the economy recovers. He said a major part of ensuring electric reliability is having sufficient generating capability.

Last month, parent company Dominion Resources Inc. said it would spend $253 million to upgrade a network of natural gas pipelines in West Virginia that was never designed to handle the gas bonanza that has been uncovered in the region. The work will ease pressure within its system and increase the amount of gas that producers can move out of the state.