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Can Dominion’s Promises Be Relied on? Case Study: Electric Charging at New Kent Rest Stop

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by A Siegel

Dominion Energy dominates Virginia and has an outsized influence on economic, environmental and other policy arenas.  Right now, Dominion is moving aggressively forward with an Electric School Bus (ESB) program (a real YEAH with caveats) with many promises for future action and developments embedded within that. This multi-billion dollar program has potentially very high value impacts across numerous arenas (such as youth and community health; noise pollution; energy security; school system finances; road safety). Understanding Dominion’s track record in living up to ‘press release’ promises (perhaps with no embedded contractual requirements?) could help evaluation of and engagement with Dominion’s ESB program.

Here is a small window on the issue revealed due to a recent drive along I-64.

Stopped to stretch my legs along I-64, at the New Kent rest stop, and realized that I had to restart and move my car as there was, about 100 feet away, a Dominion Energy – Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) electric charging station. Simply put, YEAH!!!

Within moments, that excitement dissipated as I discovered that this was simply a 110/120 volt plug, no charging cable attached (that is mine in the photo above), with the potential of providing enough electricity over the course of an hour for four miles of driving. Thus, an asterisk to that “YEAH”.

In researching this “charging station”* (discussion here), from a September 2009 Virginia-Pilot article on Dominion’s and the Virginia Department of Transportation’s plans for EV chargers at Virginia rest stops.

“The New Kent Safety Rest Area, off Interstate 64, received the first station this month. It can accommodate up to four vehicles at a time and charges at 120 volts, though Dominion is expected to upgrade it to 240 volts.”

A decade later, we’re still waiting for that upgrade.

What does this case study suggest about relying on Dominion’s promises when it comes to public infrastructure investments?

Perhaps, when it comes to Dominion Power promises, Ronald Reagan was right:

Доверяй, но проверяйDoveryai, no proveryai

That is, “trust but verify”