Newsletter
Westpark Drive outside Park Crest during Jan. 16 snow (photo by ERTRIPP9)

Petersen Asks Youngkin to Support Dominion Bill — Chap Petersen, who represents Vienna as the state senator for the 34th District, called on new Gov. Glenn Youngkin to join an effort to limit Dominion Energy’s influence in the General Assembly. He has introduced a bill that would prohibit political candidates and committees from accepting campaign contributions from public utilities. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Fire Department Sees Uptick in Calls — “It was a busy year for your Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FCFRD) firefighters and paramedics! An increase of over 11,000 calls from the 96,934 total calls in 2020. 298 responses to medical calls, fires, rescues, car crashes, etc., on average each day during 2021!” [FCFRD]

Route 7 Traffic Changes Start Today — “Drivers on eastbound Route 7 will experience a lane shift to the north (towards the median) between Lyons Street and Lewinsville Road. Temporary traffic changes on side streets will be in place while crews continue the construction along Route 7.” [VDOT]

MCC Calls for New Board Candidates — The McLean Community Center is seeking candidates for three adult and two youth positions that will open up on its board of governors for the June 2022 to May 2023 term. Candidate petition packets will be available at 1234 Ingleside Avenue starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 19), and early voting will begin in March. [MCC]

Fairfax County Redistricting Plan Certified — “The Virginia attorney general recently certified that there is no objection to Fairfax County’s redistricting plan that the Board of Supervisors adopted on Dec. 7, 2021. The attorney general’s ‘certification of no objection’ means that the county may now implement its new local election districts as adopted.” [Fairfax County Government]

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Morning Notes

Preliminary Snowfall Totals Reported — The amount of snow seen yesterday (Monday) varied widely across Fairfax County, with totals ranging in the Tysons area from 6.4 inches in Langley, as of 1:30 p.m., to 8.3 inches in Dunn Loring. All three major airports in the D.C. region recorded new records for Jan. 3. [NWS]

Tysons Mass Vaccine Site Closed Again — All of the Virginia Department of Health’s Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs), including the one at Tysons Corner Center, will be closed today (Tuesday). This will be the second consecutive day without the mass vaccination site due to the snowstorm, with freezing overnight temperatures expected to make travel challenging this morning. [VDH]

Power Outages Could Take Days to Resolve — Dominion Energy said that restoring power in the wake of yesterday’s snowstorm could be a “multi-day effort” after wet, heavy snow weighing down branches “wreaked havoc on power lines.” As of 12:15 a.m., more than 21,000 of the utility’s customers in Fairfax County were without power. [Inside NoVA]

Vienna Delays Town Government Openings — “Due to inclement weather and hazardous driving conditions, Vienna Town Hall and the Vienna Community Center will open at 10 a.m. tomorrow. All classes and programs at the Community Center and the Bowman House are cancelled until noon. For updates, visit http://viennava.gov.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]

COVID-19 Boosters Approved for Young Teens — “The FDA has authorized vaccine boosters for children ages 12-15. However, we must wait for clinical guidelines from CDC and VDH, as we do with all vaccine authorizations, prior to booking appointments. Thank you for your patience.” [Fairfax County Health Department]

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Tysons power outages on Jan. 3, 2022 (via Dominion Energy)

Updated at 10:40 a.m.The power outages in Tysons appear to be largely resolved now, per Dominion Energy’s outage map. About 170 customers in central Tysons are still waiting for their power to be restored.

Earlier: More than 7,000 people in Tysons are currently without power, as the area’s first snow of the season continues to fall.

According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, the biggest power losses are concentrated along Route 7 west of the Capitol Beltway. Another outage has affected 329 customers in the Kent Gardens area of McLean.

As of 9:55 a.m., the utility did not have an estimated time of restoration yet.

Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox confirmed that the snowstorm led to an outage that prompted an automatic lockout of a transmission line in Tysons.

She says that when part of the line experiences an outage, it gets locked out as an automatic response to ensure safety. The utility’s control center is now working to switch the area to another part of the power grid, which would allow it to get electricity from other transmission lines.

“We are isolating hoping to get 8000 customers restored within the hour,” she told Tysons Reporter at 10:05 a.m. by email.

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Power is out for 224 people in the Falls Church area (via Dominion Energy)

(Updated at 9:35 a.m.) More than 200 people in the Falls Church area are currently without power.

According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, the power loss has affected 224 customers on the east side of Route 7. The utility company attributes the outage to a vehicle accident.

A crew has been dispatched, but the estimated time of restoration is not until 1-6 p.m.

The City of Falls Church says the power outage has affected some of its facilities. The Mary Riley Styles Public Library has been closed for the day, and City Hall is offering only limited services since it’s on partial power.

The Falls Church Community Center, however, has full power and remains open.

According to the City of Falls Church, Dominion Energy arrived on the scene around 3:30 a.m. after a vehicle hit a utility pole near 300 North Washington Street.

“The vehicle was towed and there were no reports of injuries,” Falls Church spokesperson Susan Finarelli said.

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Dunn Loring power outages on Oct. 29, 2021 (via Dominion Energy)

(Updated at 3 p.m.) Roughly 800 people in Dunn Loring are currently without power as rain continues to fall throughout the D.C. metropolitan area.

While flooding impacts appear to be more concentrated to the east in Arlington, Alexandria, and D.C. so far, Dominion Energy reports that 420 customers around Cedar Lane and Electric Avenue have lost power due to a broken pole.

There is also a power outage in Idylwood affecting 373 customers, though the cause of that outage is pending investigation.

The utility company estimates that power will be restored at both sites between 4 and 9 p.m.

The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed that the following roads have been closed:

As of 3 p.m., Lawyers Road at Hunter Mill Road in Vienna has also been closed due to high waters, according to Fairfax Alerts.

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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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Map of power outages in McLean due to storm on Aug. 26, 2021 (via Dominion Energy)

(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) A thunderstorm that has reportedly dropped hail in nearby Arlington County and D.C. has also knocked out power for more than 3,000 McLean residents.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for northeastern Fairfax County, though it was scheduled to end at 4:45 p.m.

According to Dominion Energy’s outage map, power outages attributed to failed circuits were affecting 1,638 customers around Ingleside and Langley as well as 839 customers in the area around the Route 123 and George Washington Memorial Parkway interchange.

Another 703 customers in downtown McLean are also without power, though a cause is still under investigation.

Crews are awaiting assignment, and an estimated time of restoration for the power outages is pending investigation, according to Dominion.

In addition, traffic delays may be coming after a downed tree was reported on the southbound GW Parkway after Route 123.

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Almost 7,000 people in Fairfax County still have no electricity after a thunderstorm took out trees and wires late last night (Wednesday).

According to PowerOutage.US, 6,920 Dominion Energy customers in the county are experiencing a power outage as of 9:10 a.m. Dominion’s outage map shows that, while there are scattered outages farther south, the vast majority of those without power are in McLean and Falls Church.

Crews are working on and investigating many of the reported outages. The estimated time of restoration is noon to 5 p.m. for those in the Langley and Scott’s Run area and 6-11 p.m. for the many outages in McLean southeast of Route 123 and West Falls Church.

“Our plan includes all resources engaged w/ over 50 bucket trucks,” Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox said on Twitter. “Stay away from downed lines — assume energized.”

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department warns that people should stay away from any downed wires. Fallen trees can be reported to 9-1-1 if it is a life-threatening situation or the Virginia Department of Transportation if they are impeding roads, though removal of trees on private property is the owner’s responsibility.

According to the National Weather Service, more storms are expected to hit the D.C. area this afternoon and evening, with the possibility of flash flooding and even a tornado.

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Morning Notes

Governor to Throw First Pitch for Little League Tournament — The 2021 Virginia State Little League Majors Tournament kicks off at 5:30 p.m. today in Vienna with a Parade of Champions led by the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:15 p.m. at Yeonas Park with Gov. Ralph Northam and Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert throwing out the first pitch. [Town of Vienna/Facebook]

Idylwood Substation Timeline Extension Supported — A State Corporation Commission hearing examiner recommended approval of Dominion Energy’s request to extend the timeline for construction on its Idylwood substation until Dec. 31, 2026. The project has frustrated residents, but Holly Crest Community Association President Lori Jeffrey expressed hope when contacted by Tysons Reporter that requiring the utility company to file quarterly construction status updates will bring some degree of accountability and prevent a repeat of this past spring. [SCC]

Merger Floated for Tysons Company — Tysons-headquartered Cvent, a private event-management company with around 4,000 employees, will merge with Dragoneer Growth Opportunities Corp. II and become publicly traded, according to The Wall Street Journal. “The company isn’t commenting on WSJ speculation at this time,” spokesperson Nevin Reilly told Tysons Reporter. [WSJ]

Police Department Adds First Data Director — “Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis has hired Dr. Noah Fritz as the Department’s new Director of Crime Control Strategies & Data Analytics. Dr. Fritz will be a key contributor to Davis’ data-driven strategy, which aims to guide FCPD’s approach to fair and effective policing through the collection, analysis and sharing of statistical information.” [FCPD]

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A map of a power outage in McLean, caused by a tree that fell on utility wires on Spring Hill Road (via Dominion Energy)

(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) 302 people in McLean are without power after a tree fell and took out some utility wires on Spring Hill Road overnight.

Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox says the fallen tree broke one pole and two cross-arms, bringing down four spans of wire.

Spring Hill Road has been closed between Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive so that crews can work to address the downed pole and restore power, WTOP reported.

According to Dominion’s outage map, a crew is currently assessing the damage caused by the tree, and the estimated time of restoration is between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., a timeframe confirmed by Fox.

The Spring Hill Recreation Center (1239 Spring Hill Road) is temporarily closed due to the ongoing power outage, according to the Fairfax County Park Authority.

“Summer camps have been relocated to the school next door,” the park authority said on social media. “Indoor classes are temporarily canceled. Outdoor classes are being held as scheduled, but check with your instructor.”

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