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New hearing scheduled on Dominion Energy’s long-delayed Idylwood Substation project

Residents will have a new opportunity this summer to express their thoughts on Dominion Energy’s long-delayed effort to rebuild the Idylwood Substation at Shreve Road in Falls Church.

The State Corporation Commission has scheduled a hearing for June 10 at 7 p.m. after Fairfax County requested one in response to a new construction schedule that Dominion proposed earlier this year.

“My office and Fairfax County have strongly advocated for a new public hearing due to Dominion’s substantially delayed construction schedule,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a newsletter. “This will be an opportunity for the community to convey concerns and frustrations.”

Dominion will replace the existing substation that was built in the 1950s with a new “gas insulated substation” that accommodates growth in the area without expanding the substation’s footprint, a Dominion Energy spokeswoman said during a community meeting earlier this year.

The project dates back to 2014, but the timeline for completion has kept getting pushed out.

“The length of construction time estimated by the company has tripled — from three years in 2017 to now almost nine years in total,” the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors said in a response to Dominion’s application to the SCC for a new in-service date. “The ‘end date’ that the residents were looking forward to — the date by which the daily disruption to their lives would be over — has jumped from mid-2020 to the end of 2026.”

During the virtual community meeting on Jan. 27, the Dominion spokesperson attributed the project delays to the permitting process, as well as an adjustment in scope and staffing changes. It is also a complex project, she said.

“Since Idylwood Substation is in an important area, it is necessary we keep most of the equipment energized while we work to keep reliable power in the Northern Virginia area,” her presentation said. “To perform this safely, we must work in limited space and even temporarily relocate certain equipment at times to install new equipment.”

This year, Dominion plans to tackle updating the building and begin construction on the first phase of a permanent brick wall along Shreve Road.

In its response submitted to the SCC on Feb. 23, the Board of Supervisors expressed appreciation for the status updates over the last eight months but said maintains its concerns “about the lack of urgency in the company’s commitment to actually completing this project.”

“The disruption and uncertainty of this process has taken a daily toll on the Idylwood community for years in the past and is now projected to continue for years in the future,” the board said. “The community deserves another chance to be heard publicly, especially given the radically different construction estimation that the company is now requesting this Commission approve.”

Here are the details for participating in the upcoming public hearing :

Telephonic Public Hearing Details:

Date: June 10, 2021 at 7 p.m.

To submit testimony:

To register to speak as a public witness in the proceeding, please submit the online Public Witness Form directly, OR complete and email PDF for PUR-2017-00002. Deadline to sign up is June 8.

To access audio for the hearing:

Visit: https://scc.virginia.gov/pages/Webcasting

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