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The Cunningham-Dooms Project replaces the high-voltage line between the Cunningham and Dooms substations that was placed into service in the 1960s. This line is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced with new equipment to meet current standards.


  • May 2020 - Right of way restoration and removal of temporary access roads continues with anticipated completion by the end of 2020.
  • April 2019 - Phase 3 construction is complete and the project is fully constructed and energized. Rehab and restoration activities will continue through the end of 2019.


  • Help strengthen the electrical grid
  • Replace aging infrastructure
  • Ensure reliable electric service for the customers consistent with North American Electric Reliability Corporation reliability standards
  • No new right of way is required

Construction Updates

  • May 2019 - Line construction is completed. 
  • April 2019 - Rehab and restoration activities are underway.
  • February 2019 - Phase 2 construction completed. Rehab activities ongoing.
  • November 2018 - Phase 3 construction started in Albemarle and Augusta counties.
  • May 2018 - Phase 1 construction and rehab completed.
  • November 2017 - Phase 1 construction begins in Fluvanna County.

Overview & Project Description

As approved by the State Corporation Commission (SCC), the galvanized lattice structures will be chemically pre-dulled to mute the finish of the galvanized sheen. The conductor (line) will be dulled to mute its reflectivity.

Approximate total line length is 33 miles.

Typical structure description – The existing 500kV structures average 106 feet tall with a range from 72 feet to 149 feet. The preliminary approximate heights of the proposed towers range from 108 feet to 174 feet with an overall average height of 134 feet over this 32-mile rebuild project. Compared to the existing structures, the increase in average height is 28 feet. View existing and proposed configurations below:

Photo Simulations

The following simulations compare the existing and proposed views.

Photo simulations and diagrams provide representational views of proposed electric transmission facilities. These illustrations do not necessarily depict exact structure design or physical placement. All projects are subject to change and to final engineering.

Basic map of the route.


  • May 2019 - Target date to energize the rebuilt transmission line
  • October 9, 2018 - Postcard sent to neighbors announcing Phase 3 construction informational meeting
  • Summer 2017 - Secure necessary permits for construction; pending SCC approval, construction scheduled to begin
  • May 5, 2017 - The SCC issued its final order, granting Dominion Energy a CPCN and approving the line for construction
  • Early 2016 - File application with the State Corporation Commission (SCC)
  • February 2016 - Informational open houses in Crozet, Waynesboro, Charlottesville
  • Late 2015/Early 2016 - Public outreach to counties, elected officials and adjacent property owners

SCC Applications

  • May 5, 2017 - The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) issued its Final Order regarding our Cunningham-Dooms 500 kV rebuild project. The SCC found that the line is necessary and issued its permit for Dominion Energy to rebuild the 32.7 mile line. As part of its order, The Commission directed Dominion Energy to chemically dull the structures as a means to mitigate the visual impacts.
  • March 2, 2016 - Dominion Energy filed its application with the SCC seeking review and approval. On November 9, 2016, the SCC Hearing Examiner issued his final report and recommendations. In his report, the Hearing Examiner recommends to the Commission, among other things, that there is a need for the project, that Dominion Energy’s proposed rebuild project reasonably minimizes impacts and to issue Dominion Energy a certificate of public convenience and necessity.
  • March 2, 2016 - Dominion Energy filed an application with the SCC - The SCC is responsible for determining the need, route and environmental impact of transmission lines at 138kV and above in Virginia.


Overhead lines have proven to be the best choice for providing safe, reliable and economical energy to our customers. Underground transmission lines are not as desirable from an operational point of view. The duration of outages for underground high-voltage transmission lines is significantly greater compared to overhead lines due to the complexities of locating failures and facilitating repairs. Dominion Energy operates a high-voltage network of approximately 6,500 miles of transmission lines. Of this total, only about 1% (67 miles) is comprised of underground cables with zero at 500,000 volt level. These 115kV-230kV underground installations are primarily for dense metro areas or other areas that are not suitable for overhead lines.

As part of the SCC application, Dominion Energy completes an evaluation of potential impacts of the project. The company also submits annual Erosion and Sedimentation (E&S) Control Specifications and an anticipated list of transmission line projects for the construction and maintenance of transmission lines to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for review and approval. Our contractors receive copies of the E&S specifications and any additional permit conditions prior to construction and are completed to meet any requirements.

Impacts to farming will be minimal but should construction work within the right of way disrupt crop planting, Dominion Energy will compensate property owners accordingly.

Photo simulations and diagrams provide representational views of proposed electric transmission facilities. These illustrations do not necessarily depict exact structure design or physical placement. All projects are subject to change and to final engineering.
Aging Cor-Ten steel towers will be replaced with new galvanized steel lattice towers. Use of modern materials, compliance with National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) clearance requirements, and application of good utility engineering practices require the new towers to be taller structures.

Dominion Energy's Transmission Engineering Group determines structure locations and structure types for high-voltage transmission lines based on a wide variety of data and factors including, but not limited to, National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) clearance requirements, terrain, line sag between towers, voltage levels, equipment needs, route design, land use, and natural or man-made obstacles.

Given the statutory preference to use existing rights of way to avoid additional costs and environmental impacts, Dominion Energy plans to optimize the use of the existing corridor as already built between the Cunningham and Dooms substations.
Yes. Our easement agreements allow us access to private roads of property owners crossed by the right of way. The company, at its expense, will repair any private roads damaged by Dominion Energy or its contractors during construction of the line or during future maintenance. In addition, we will reimburse property owners for crop damage, and repair or replace fences or gates if we damage them.
Dominion Energy welcomes comments and suggestions from property owners and the general public. Email us with questions or for project updates or invitations to future public meetings.
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