The state’s largest electricity utility has raised the price to move power lines out of the way of work, this time at the Rt. 7 and Belmont Ridge Road interchange.
Dominion Virginia Power originally quoted the price to move power poles and lines for the project as $771,554, of which the county government would pay $541,386.
The utility relocation project was delayed by more than a year, finally wrapping up work in December 2016. After cost overruns, the total bill for the project had grown to $1,416,414, of which the county would be responsible for $954,663—about double the original cost. The county negotiated that price down to $773,517, which the Board of Supervisors’ finance committee approved on April 19.
It’s not the first time the county has had this kind of problem with utility companies. As regulated monopolies, utility companies set the price and the contractors that relocate utilities. The county has no ability to call for competitive bids for those contracts.
In June 2016, supervisors approved an additional $1.7 million to pay Columbia Gas to move its lines around work on Claiborne Parkway.