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UPDATED: 12/30/21

To members in the areas of Shawneeland, Mountain Falls Park and Back Mountain Road in Frederick County, a series of brief outages this week (the week of December 27) provides an opportunity to remind you, and further explain, an ongoing project to rebuild a part of the Hayfield substation that serves you. About 2,000 members are affected as we have contractors working to rebuild a unit, known as a feeder, to provide more reliable service for the future. Contractors are upgrading utility poles and overhead conductor along a roughly 100-mile stretch.

To safely perform their job, contractors cannot work on live power lines without protection. Instead, in cooperation with SVEC’s Operations Center, crews initiate what’s called “hot line tag,” a highly sensitive, yet protective setting. Where contractors benefit with safety, a drawback is any issue (most likely squirrels or trees coming in contact with our facilities) that occurs along the stretch of power lines on hot line tag will take service out to anyone along those lines. This has occurred on three occasions this week (the week of December 27) and has been reported on occasion since early October. The issues are in various areas from the Hayfield substation on South Hayfield Road to the end of the line miles away. It’s possible for the source of an outage to be a long distance from where contractors are actually working.

When outages occur while lines are on hot line tag, they are not a sign of a mistake by our contractors. The system works as designed in these situations. However, we recognize the inconvenience of repeated service interruptions and continue to evaluate the project to minimize its impact on you. We work year round to trim branches to keep our right-of-way clear across the nearly 8,000 miles of line we maintain.

Contractors work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday and are scheduled to remain in the area until early February 2022. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience these service interruptions have caused and want you to be informed and prepared should additional incidents occur. Fortunately, we have been able to restore service within a short amount of time in each recent case.


For more information about hot line tag, please read this article: