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State lets Dominion extend work on complaint-riddled Idylwood project to 2026

Idylwood residents will officially have to wait another five years for relief from construction on a power substation project that was originally slated for a May 31, 2020 completion.

The State Corporation Commission granted an extension to Dominion Energy last Wednesday (Sept. 8), letting the utility company take until Dec. 31, 2026 to finish a project that has become a headache for surrounding neighborhoods.

“I think the neighborhood is resigned and tired after 8 years,” Lori Jeffrey, president of the Holly Crest Community Association Board of Directors, said by email. “It’s always been uphill and we know that Dominion will ultimately get what they ask for.”

The project involves upgrading the Idylwood power substation at Shreve Road that was originally built in the late 1950s and reducing the facility’s footprint from 3.99 acres to 2.27 acres, according to Dominion.

The company filed application paperwork with Fairfax County in 2014, got SCC approval for the project in 2017, and ramped up pre-construction activities in 2018. The SCC’s initial order required the rebuild to be complete in 2020 but allowed room for an extension.

“We are committed to keeping this complex and necessary project on schedule,” Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox said in a statement. “Ensuring the community’s energy needs go uninterrupted is a priority.

Adding that “much of the work is orchestrated around energized equipment,” Fox said that unexpected circumstances always occur during construction, but Dominion is taking precautions to limit delays and will adhere to its commitment to the neighborhood to limit weekend work.

Previously, the company justified the amount of time sought for the rebuild by citing the complexity of the project and longer-than-exected permitting processes, among other factors, acknowledging that it had underestimated parts of the timeline.

The extension comes after residents voiced concerns about delays in the project and questioned whether Dominion was being honest about its work.

During an SCC hearing in June that was requested by Fairfax County officials, residents spoke about the project lasting for years and questioned how trustworthy the company is when it presents information.

In a concession to residents’ frustrations, the commission’s timeline extension approval comes with a requirement that Dominion post quarterly construction updates on its website for the project.

“I think our constant pressure has also ensured that [Dominion] will build the wall on Shreve road this fall, years before the other 3 sides,” Jeffrey wrote. “This will help mitigate the appearance of the construction for everyone but the residents immediately adjacent to the substation.”

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