Dominion CEO: Company plans to invest $800m in electric transmission in 2017

Dominion Resources (NYSE:D) has a number of electric transmission projects at various stages of regulatory approval and construction, Dominion Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Farrell II said on May 4.

The company plans to invest $800m in its electric transmission business this year, he added during the company’s 1Q17 earnings call.

After the call, a company spokesperson on May 4 told TransmissionHub that among the major projects included in the $800m spend referenced during the call are Dominion Virginia Power’s:

  • Elmont to Cunningham 500-kV Rebuild in central Virginia, which is in construction, and has a target date of December, along with an anticipated total cost of $103m
  • Carson to Rodgers Rd Rebuild in southern Virginia, which is in construction, and has a target date of December 2018, along with an anticipated total cost of $52m
  • Warrenton and Vint Hill 230-kV lines in northern Virginia, which is in construction, and also has a target date of December 2018, along with an anticipated total cost of $109m
  • Poland Rd 230-kV line in northern Virginia, which is in construction, and has a target date of June 2018, along with an anticipated total cost of $44m
  • 47 line rebuild 115-kV in central Virginia, which is in construction, and also has a target date of June 2018, along with an anticipated total cost of $44m 
  • Eastern Statcom in eastern Virginia, which is set to be completed in April 2018, and has an anticipated total cost of $30m

Farrell said during the call that $784m worth of electric transmission projects were completed in 2016.

He also noted that the Strategic Underground Program continues at Dominion Virginia Power.

“Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly affirmed its support for the program and clarified the standards by which distribution lines would be prioritized,” he said. “We plan to invest up to $175m per year in this program to reduce the number of outage locations and their duration during major events.”

According to Dominion’s website, legislation enacted in 2014 allows electric utilities to recover costs associated with replacing overhead distribution lines with underground lines. Funding for the program comes from a special rate adjustment, which was approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, called a rider, the site noted.

According to a company brochure, under the program, Dominion uses a data-driven process to identify overhead lines most prone to outages. A company representative will visit the area and propose a route for the new underground lines, and the company will work with landowners to secure necessary easements along the proposed underground route. The brochure further noted that in most cases, Dominion will use a low-impact, drilling technology instead of open trenching, in order to minimize disruption to property. Company crews will return to remove any Dominion overhead lines and restore property back to a similar condition, according to the brochure.

Among other things, Farrell said that following shareholder approval at an upcoming annual meeting, the company’s name will change to Dominion Energy, in recognition of its focus on the evolving energy marketplace, and to unify its brand after last year’s merger with Questar Corporation.

Earnings report

Dominion on May 4 announced unaudited reported earnings determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (reported earnings) for the three months ended March 31 of $632m, or $1.01 per share, compared with earnings of $524m, or 88 cents per share, for the same period in 2016. 

Operating earnings for the three months ended March 31 were $611m, or 97 cents per share, compared to operating earnings of $572m, or 96 cents per share, for the same period in 2016, the company said, adding that operating earnings are defined as reported earnings adjusted for certain items.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3052 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.