33,887 Customers Restored

23 December 2012

News Release
Contact: Jeremy Baker, Green Mountain Power, (802) 770-4132
For immediate release:  December 23, 2012 5:00 p.m.
Crews converge in Western Rutland and Eastern Addison Counties
33,887 customers restored, 383 remain
Rutland, VT… GMP crews have rallied together along with contract line crews and tree trimmers from as far away as New Brunswick and expect to restore power to every customer by day’s end Monday.  The hurricane-force winds that ushered winter into Vermont, bringing down trees, utility lines and poles, created incredible challenges for workers beginning Friday morning.
“Our entire workforce has converged on the handful of towns in Eastern Addison and Western Rutland counties that were devastated by incredible winds that ravaged the region Friday.  We have installed nearly 50 new poles to replace poles knocked down by wind and trees, in some cases sheared off at ground level, an enormous undertaking requiring hundreds of man-hours,” GMP spokesperson Jeremy Baker said.  “We expect the vast majority of the remaining outages will be restored by late tonight, and we’ll push through to finish the job by Christmas Eve.”
Hardest-hit towns remaining are Lincoln in Addison County and Castleton in Rutland County. The most remote customers in those areas may not have power until Christmas Eve, though crews will be working through the night tonight into Monday.
“Overnight temperatures below freezing combined with customers without heat are a big concern,” said Baker, “GMP employees continue discussions with community leaders and are going door to door providing safety information and progress updates so customers can make appropriate plans.”
Green Mountain Power crews and as many as 300 contract lineworkers and tree trimmers are repairing some of the most intense devastation workers have seen for years. Friday’s winds, clocked over 70 mph in many areas and over 117 mph on top of Mount Mansfield, knocked hundreds of trees  onto  power lines and snapped poles at the base.  As of 5:00 pm, GMP had restored power to 33,887 customers and continued to restore power to the final 383 customers.
“We are at the point where it can take a long time to bring back a handful of customers,” said Baker.  “We were able to send electronic messages to smart meters overnight last night to confirm outages.  This invaluable tool allowed us to focus on customers that truly remained without power.  We continue to urge customers to call and report their outages even if they have previously done so.  To report an outage, call 1-800-451-2877; our customer service representatives are eager to hear from you.”
GMP has enhanced its current outage reporting options.  The company has added a “Power Out” button on its Facebook page that allows customers an additional avenue to report an outage.  “We encourage our customers to use whatever method is most convenient for them. They can still call 1-800-451-2877 to report an outage; however, we have made it as easy as possible for our customers to provide us with their information via the web, their mobile phones, or Facebook,” Baker said.
GMP reminds customers that if the service wire or meter box along the side of the home has been damaged, it must be repaired by the customer’s electrician.

GMP offered the following safety advice:
  • Treat any downed line as if it is live.  Report the line to your local utility and fire department, stay at least 50 feet away from the line, and keep children and pets away as well.
  • If using a generator, read and follow the owner’s manual before starting it.  Never operate a generator inside any structure or near a structure.  Use a transfer switch to ensure electricity is not accidentally fed onto a line where line crews must work.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
  • If power goes out, turn off all electrical appliances except one light so you’ll know when service returns.  Then, turn equipment back on slowly.
  • Never use grills inside garages, sheds or other buildings, as the fumes can be poisonous.