Power restored to 28,000 customers

22 December 2012

News Release
Contact: Jeremy Baker, Green Mountain Power, (802) 770-4132
For immediate release:  December 22, 2012 5:00 p.m.
Power restored to 28,000 customers
Work will continue into Monday
Rutland, VT… GMP crews restored power to 28,000 customers by late afternoon Saturday, and will once again work through the night and into Sunday and Monday to restore service to the 3,700 customers still without power following Friday’s hurricane-force winds.
“We’re making steady progress in most areas, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us in western Rutland County and Addison County,” GMP spokesperson Jeremy Baker said.  “As we complete restoration in other areas, we will be moving dozens more workers into the western sections overnight and Sunday morning to speed the recovery effort.”
Hardest-hit areas include the Lincoln, Starksboro, Ripton and Goshen areas in Addison County, and in Rutland County, the Poultney, Wells, Castleton, Brandon and Pawlet areas. The most remote customers in those areas may not have power until Christmas Eve, though crews will be working around the clock. In these instances, lineworkers often have several hours of work to bring back on one or two homes, which makes the final restoration work take longer than repairs at the beginning of a storm event.  In the Poultney-Castleton area alone, 18 broken poles must be replaced before restoration is complete.
“As the weather changes and temperatures drop, customers without heat are a big concern,” said Baker, “GMP employees have called community leaders and are going door to door in towns hardest hit to provide safety information and progress updates so they can make appropriate plans.”
Green Mountain Power crews and as many as 250 contract lineworkers and tree trimmers are hard at work 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.  Crews are experiencing difficult conditions, including trees across roads, blocked driveways and icy roads.
“We are at the point where it can take a long time to bring back a handful of customers,” said Baker. “For example, in Poultney today it took seven hours of work to restore service to 15 customers.”
The army of GMP crews and outside contract crews includes 17 workers from the Connecticut utility United Illuminating, which GMP crews assisted following Super Storm Sandy.
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:
  • Fill a bathtub with water before you lose service so the water can be used to flush toilets when the power is out. PREVENT UNSUPERVISED BATHROOM ACCESS TO CHILDREN.
  • 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.