Mass of crews work through night to restore power as new outages occur

30 October 2012

The remnants of Hurricane Sandy continued to lash Vermont overnight and early this morning, causing thousands of new power outages even as hundreds of workers continued to restore service in hard-hit areas.

Green Mountain Power said as of 7:30 a.m., crews have restored service to 28,693 of the 36,000 customers affected, while 7,344 remain without service. 

“Crews have been working hard through the night, and we have made tremendous progress even as Mother Nature kept adding to the damage,” GMP spokesman Jeremy Baker said.

“Thanks to the massive work force we were able to bring to bear, we were able to clean up a lot of areas over night,” Baker said.  “As a result, we’re moving dozens of crews from areas that have been cleaned up to help restore service in the hardest-hit areas.”

Sandy’s remnants arrived Monday afternoon in Vermont, building up through the evening and continuing to pummel the slopes of the Green Mountains and some valley passes as it moved north overnight.  Wind speeds over 70 miles an hour – hurricane-force winds – were measured at Searsburg, with forecasts for peak winds of 50 to 60 miles an hour overnight across much of the state.  A High Wind Warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect until 11 a.m.

Bennington, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties, were hit hardest, with heavy damage in many areas.  “We have a mass of assessors, tree-cutters, line workers and support staff spreading across those areas this morning,” Baker said.

GMP crews have been assisted by hundreds of line and tree workers who came from as far away as Florida, Mississippi and California.

“That’s as far as we could ever hope to have crews travel to help us,” Baker said.  “Given the enormous threat Sandy held over the entire East Coast, we are thrilled with the crews we were able to assemble and the work they’ve been able to do already.  We’ll continue to work until we restore service to everyone affected.”

The company asked customers with routine business to put off calling the company until the cleanup is complete, so customers with outages can easily contact the company. 

GMP offered customers the following safety tips:

·         Call 911 for any life-threatening emergencies.

·         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

Customers may report outages by calling 1-888-835-4672, visiting GMP’s Outage Center page at www.greenmountainpower.com or by clicking the “Power Out?” button on GMP’s mobile site, m.greenmountainpower.com.

The latest statewide outages numbers are always available at www.greenmountainpower.com and www.vtoutages.com.

 Contact: Jeremy Baker, Green Mountain Power, (802) 770-4132