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Overview & Updates

existing conditions at Crystal Substation
At Dominion Energy, we plan to make improvements to our Crystal City Substation, located at the intersection of South Hayes Street and South Fern Street in Arlington Virginia. This project addresses aging equipment and increases reliability for the anticipated load growth in the National Landing area. This project includes an expansion and remodel of the substation.




  • July 2021 - Construction begins
  • Late May 2021 - Construction activity expected to begin, pending receiving final approvals
  • Late Q1 2021 - Anticipated construction start date
  • Nov. 14, 2020 - County Board meeting
  • Sept. 8, 2020 - Submit Special Use Permit Application for November County Board hearing
  • Aug.–Sept. 2020 - Solicit written feedback from community through Dominion Energy and Arlington County project websites
  • Early Aug. 2020 - Online community engagement session
  • July–Sept. 2020 - Outreach
  • July 6, 2020 - Submit rezoning application


Updated Sept. 2020

Can you make the sidewalks around the substation wider?

Due to the existing curb alignment and existing substation location, some portions of the sidewalk will remain narrow within the existing public street and utility easement.

I’m concerned about EMF. Will these levels increase as a result of this project?

This project will replace existing equipment inside the substation. We will not be adding any new electric transmission or distribution lines. EMF levels will not increase as a result of this project.

Customers sometimes contact us with concerns about possible health hazards associated with EMFs. Dominion Energy, like other utilities, relies on information from federal, state and international health agencies, which review EMF research and monitor this issue in order to help evaluate potential risks and respond to concerns. Such agencies have not concluded that exposure to EMFs at levels found in our communities poses a health hazard. For more information on this topic, visit

What is a substation?

A substation is a facility that changes voltage from high to low or from low to high, among other important functions. When electric transmission lines enter a substation, the voltage is lowered using transformers. The lower voltage electricity is delivered to customers using electric distribution lines.

Why is this project necessary?

There are three primary drivers for this project. • Aging Infrastructure - Much of the equipment inside the substation is approaching the end of its service life and needs to be replaced to help maintain electric reliability. • Load growth – Additional infrastructure is required in order to continue serving the present load and meet the network reliability criteria and prepare for anticipated load growth in the area. • Safety Regulations - The substation needs physical improvements for safety and reliability of service. An increase in space will allow us to maneuver inside the substation to access our equipment in a safe and efficient manner.

Why is a rezoning application necessary?

We submitted an application to rezone to C-O-2.5 Zoning District so the project can satisfy the Zoning Ordinance’s use and lot size requirements for substations.

Why does Dominion Energy need to expand in the existing green space? Why can’t you expand where the parking on South Fern Street is located?

We are limited in how we can configure the substation and where we can expand due to operational and security reasons. Additionally, there are existing underground utilities we must avoid. The existing green space owned by Arlington County is the best option to expand the substation with minimal impacts to the area.

There have been several outages in our area lately. Will this project fix the issue?

Part of this project involves building new equipment that will automatically reroute power from another source if equipment inside the substation causes an outage. This will improve reliability in your area; however, outages can still occur if any of the lines outside of the substation that serve your home are damaged.

What is Dominion Energy doing with the expansion? How large will the expansion be?

When we replace the existing equipment in the substation, we will be replacing it with equipment that can support future load growth in the area. Not only will the expansion of the facility allow us to make room for this new equipment and growth, it will improve safety measures inside the substation by allowing us more room to access the equipment. The proposed expansion will use approximately 14,250 square feet of the parcel currently owned by Arlington County.

Can this expansion be located anywhere else? Why this location?

Because of the location of electric transmission and distribution lines entering the substation, we need to perform upgrades at the existing site. Expanding at another site would require additional work that would impact the community, such as building new power lines, equipment and an entirely new building.

Is this to serve the larger development? What is the impact on single family homes?

While large developments will be served by this substation, it will not have any adverse effects on the residential community. This project will improve long term reliability for the entire National Landing area.

What will the construction process look like?

We anticipate beginning construction in late Q1 2021. The final construction schedule will be shared closer to the construction start dates once all necessary approvals are received. We are committed to working within the timeframes set forth by County noise ordinances and working times. Typically, our construction projects are Monday-Thursday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. but are subject to weather, permits, etc. No road closures are anticipated due to this project. Once construction is complete, we will rehabilitate any work areas to their pre-existing conditions.

Will the expansion and improvements look similar to the existing substation?

Our team is planning to make visual enhancements to the substation in addition to the operational improvements and expansion. At Dominion Energy, we believe investing in our communities is important, which is why we are committed to improving the aesthetical look to the facility to better match the modernization of the surrounding area. We welcome community feedback on our renderings.

Will the new site incorporate landscaping?

Part of the visual improvements we plan to make at the substation includes landscaping and green space the community can enjoy.

Who should I contact if I have more questions about this project?

For more information, contact our team by sending an email to or by calling 888-291-0190.

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