Tysons, VA

As concerns grow about the coronavirus, state and county officials, along with Dominion Energy, want residents to beware scams related to the virus.

“As the coronavirus public health emergency continues, scam artists are taking advantage [of] the situation,” one of the many alerts from Fairfax County said.

Coronavirus Scam Prevention

Due to Virginia’s declared state of emergency, the county noted that it is unlawful of suppliers to sell, lease or license any necessary goods and services “at an unconscionable price.”

As of yesterday (Tuesday), spokespeople for Fairfax County and FCPD haven’t received any reports about scams related to the coronavirus.

Earlier in March, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring urged residents to be wary of coronavirus scams, which could include products for sale claiming to prevent the virus, misinformation or fake solicitations for coronavirus victims, according to a press release.

“Unfortunately, scammers oftentimes take advantage of natural disasters or public health fears like the coronavirus to make a buck,” Herring said in the press release.

The press release offered tips for people to combat scams:

  • Look out for emails that claim to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that they have information about the coronavirus. For the most updated information you can visit the CDC and the World Health Organization websites.
  • Do not click on any links from unknown sources. This could lead to downloading a virus on your computer or phone.
  • Ignore any offers, online or otherwise, for a coronavirus vaccine. If you see any advertisements for prevention, treatment or cures ask the question: if there had been a cure for the disease would you be hearing about that through an advertisement or sales pitch?
  • Thoroughly research any organizations or charities purporting to be raising funds for victims of the coronavirus.
  • Look out for “investment opportunities” surrounding the coronavirus. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission there are online promotions claiming the products or services of certain publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure the disease and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase because of that.

“It is so important that Virginians stay vigilant and do their research before giving their money to anyone purporting to sell preventative medications or raising funds for victims,” Herring said.

Scams Often Target Seniors

Dominion Energy is working with police to get the scammers’ phone numbers shut down, according to Peggy Fox, a Dominion Energy spokesperson.

“Dominion Energy will never make threatening phone calls, demand you pay over the phone or ask you to pay with prepaid cards,” Fox said.

Often, the scammers — claiming to be from Dominion Energy — will call people and threaten to cut off service if payments aren’t made immediately, Fox said.

“They direct their victims to another number and when you call it (which I have) you may hear our Dominion Energy voice recording — which they’ve stolen,” Fox said, adding that they will also tell people to buy pre-paid cards for payment.

Tips from Dominion Energy on how to spot scams:

  • While robocall scams can be relatively easy to spot, effective scammers continue to make personal phone calls. Some scammers may employ scare tactics, while others will try to gain your trust by sounding friendly and sympathetic.
  • Many utility scammers try to instill fear and a sense of urgency by threatening immediate service disconnection if you don’t provide payment information over the phone or agree to pay your energy bill with a prepaid debit or gift card.
  • Dominion Energy does not make calls requesting immediate payment or require customers to pay with prepaid cards of any kind.
  • Some utility impostors may falsify their caller ID to appear they are using a local number or even Dominion Energy’s customer service number. When in doubt, hang up and call the number located on your energy bill.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home unless you have a previously scheduled appointment or have called about an issue. Always check for proper identification before letting personnel in. Additionally, utility workers won’t ask you to pay an energy bill in person.
  • Hang up. Customers can always verify their account balance and payment due date by signing into their dominionenergy.com account or calling 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357).

“These scams are widespread in each of the 18 states we serve. They’re relentless in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, where we provide electrical service,” Fox said, adding that they often target seniors.

Additionally, Dominion Energy is waiving reconnection and late fees, along with donating $1 million to relief organizations to help people impacted by the coronavirus.

Suspect It’s a Scammer?

So what happens if a scammer calls? Hang up and call these places.

People who have questions or concerns about scams can contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Section at 800-552-9963 or the county’s Consumer Affairs Branch at 703-222‐8435, TTY 711.

People who think they’ve received a scam call regarding Dominion Energy should hang up and report the calls to Dominion Energy and the police.

Photo by Jonah Pettrich on Unsplash

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More than 300 Dominion Energy customers are without power this morning (Friday) in Falls Church.

The power outage, which is affecting 327 customers, is between S. West and S. Washington streets, according to Dominion’s power outage map.

The map notes that a “broken pole” is the cause.

Dominion Energy does not have an estimate yet on when power will be restored.

Map via Dominion Energy 

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Updated 3 p.m. — Includes information from FCPS about the school buses.

Eight electric school buses are set to roll into Fairfax County before the end of the year.

Dominion Energy announced today (Thursday) that Thomas Built Buses was selected in December as the vendor for the 50 buses for the first phase of the project.

Last year, Dominion Energy unveiled its initiative to bring 50 school buses to 16 counties and cities to replace diesel-powered buses by the end of 2020.

Fairfax County will be a part of the first batch of electric school buses Dominion Energy is working to add across Virginia.

“This is an innovative, sustainable solution that will help the environment, protect children’s health, make the electric grid stronger, and free up money for our schools,” Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell, II, said in the press release.

Fairfax County, which currently has a fleet of 1,625 diesel-fueled buses, will get eight electric ones, with Dominion Energy covering the difference in cost between the electric and diesel buses, according to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

“Dominion will also subsidize the cost of [the] necessary charging infrastructure,” FCPS said.

More from the press release:

The buses also provide environmental and health benefits through reduced emissions and reduce operation and maintenance costs for schools by up to 60 percent.

Phase two of the project, with state approval, would expand the program to bring at least 1,000 additional electric school buses online by 2025. Once phase two is fully implemented, the buses’ batteries could provide enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes.

Phase three would set the goal to have 50 percent of all diesel bus replacements in Dominion Energy’s footprint be electric by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.

“Adding electric school buses in our fleet is consistent with the environmental focus of Fairfax County and the school division,” FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in the FCPS press release. “Before this new partnership, the availability of electric school buses was very limited and cost was prohibitive for school divisions. This exciting new Dominion Energy initiative is moving us forward and is making electric school buses a reality.”

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Updated at 8:30 a.m. — Power has been restored.

Roughly 500 Dominion Energy customers are without power as a storm sweeps through the area on Halloween night.

One power outage is affecting 326 customers in McLean, spanning from Georgetown Pike to Route 694 just west of I-495.

Another one is affecting 228 customers where the Dulles Access Road intersects with Leesburg Pike above the Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons.

The causes of the outages are pending investigation, according to Dominion’s outage map.

Map via Dominion Energy

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Nearly 900 Dominion Energy customers are without power right in the Vienna area today (Thursday).

The outage is affecting 896 customers, spanning from Kemper Park to Malcolm Road NW.

Dominion expects the power to be back on between 7-10 p.m., according to the Dominion Energy power outage map.

The cause of the power outage is pending investigation.

Heavy rain and strong winds are expected to swoop in tonight.

Map via Dominion Energy

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Updated 10/25/19 — “It was a customer-request outage so work could be done on their end,” Peggy Fox, a spokesperson for Dominion Energy told Tysons Reporter. 

More than 230 Dominion Energy customers are without power near the intersection of International and Westpark drives above Tysons Galleria this morning (Thursday).

The outage is affecting 237 customers at the northwest corner of the intersection.

Crews are currently working to restore power, which Dominion expects to be back on between 2-5 p.m., according to the Dominion Energy power outage map.

The cause of the power outage is pending investigation.

Map via Dominion Energy

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As the windy day continues, two power outages are affecting about 50 Dominion Energy customers between Route 50 and Route 29 in the West Falls Church area.

One power outage is affecting 37 customers by Stuart Drive, while a second one is affecting 26 customers by Thomas Jefferson Library, according to Dominion.

Power is expected to be restored this evening before 10 p.m., according to Dominion.

The causes of the outages are pending investigations.

Map via Dominion Energy

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(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Work may start on a new underground power line running through Tysons before the end of the year.

The existing load on power lines from the Tysons and McLean areas is expected to exceed 300 megawatts by 2022, according to Dominion Energy. The new power line will keep Dominion under the limits.

To make sure there’s enough power, Dominion is building an additional power source to avoid violating mandatory standards.

At a meeting last night (Tuesday) at Kilmer Middle School, Dominion officials said that construction is set to kick off in November or December — depending on the weather and when permits get approved — for the Idylwood-Tysons 230 kilovolt (kV) Project.

The project will add a new 4-mile-long transmission line underground, running under the W&OD Trail by I-66 and I-495 before heading up Gallows Road to International Drive in Tysons .

Commuters and pedestrians can expect lane closures along Gallows Road and International Drive in Tysons when construction starts.

Specific dates for the construction schedule and closures have not been determined yet, an engineer for the project told Tysons Reporter. People can expect an interactive online map, which will show what’s been completed and what’s under construction.

“People who live and work in the area will most likely be impacted by the construction,” Peggy Fox, a Dominion spokesperson, said. “We do not expect to interrupt service to our electric customers.”

Currently, the bidding process is underway for the project’s contractor. The final cost will be determined once the contractor is selected — the estimated cost right now is roughly $120 million.

The State Corporation Commission approved the project last fall.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2022, with rehabilitation work going into 2023.

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Autonomous vehicles connecting the Mosaic District to the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro may arrive as soon as next spring.

Earlier this year, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors decided to start a pilot program for self-driving vehicles as a shuttle service. Dominion Energy and the county decided to partner up on the program.

Deputy County Executive Rachel Flynn said at a Bisnow event today (Thursday) that the autonomous vehicles are expected to arrive in the spring or summer.

The vehicles will come from EasyMile, which is based in France, she said.

Flynn also said that the county has received a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, but did not disclose the amount.

Photo via Facebook/EasyMile

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More than 160 Dominion Energy customers are without power near the Mosby neighborhood this morning (Thursday).

Dominion reports that an “equipment upgrade” caused the power outage, which is affecting 162 customers. The outage spans from Cherry to South streets between Hillwood Avenue and Route 50.

Crews are currently working to restore power, which Dominion expects to be back on between 2-5 p.m., according to the Dominion Energy power outage map.

Map via Dominion Energy

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