Restoration Makes Progress

22 December 2012

News Release
Contact: Jeremy Baker, Green Mountain Power, (802) 770-4132
For immediate release: December 22, 2012 11:30 a.m.
Restoration from winter wind storm makes significant progress; complete restoration could continue into late Monday.
Rutland, VT… GMP crews restored power to thousands of customers overnight, but the remaining outages will take longer to repair due to the devastation left by the unusually strong winter winds.
“We’ve made great progress, restoring power to 26,000 customers, and we have an army of GMP crews and 250 contract lineworkers and tree trimmers tackling the remaining 5,000 outages,” said Jeremy Baker, GMP spokesperson. “We’re hoping to restore power to most customers by late tonight, but expect cleanup work will continue into tomorrow and Monday. Those last outages are due to damage that will require hours of work to restore a few customers at a time, in many cases as few as one or two.”
The western part of the state was hardest hit, particularly in the Lincoln, Starksboro, Ripton, Goshen areas in Addison county,  and in Rutland County, 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.
As of 11:30 a.m. 32,217 GMP customers had been affected. GMP has restored power to more than 27,189 customers, and 5,028 customers remain without power. 
“We are concerned about the falling temperatures tonight, as well as everyone’s desire to have a safe and comfortable Christmas,” said Baker. “We are making every effort to bring people back on as soon as possible, but customers without heat should consider back-up plans to stay safe and warm.”
In addition to the army of folks on the ground, GMP has a helicopter flying along transmission lines and major distribution lines to help assess the damage. And in an effort to ensure all customers understand the progress of restoration, GMP employees are calling community leaders and going door to door to customer homes in the hardest-hit towns to provide safety information and progress updates. GMP is also leveraging its smart meter technology where it is presently deployed to aid in the restoration efforts. Customers with access to computers or portable devices can also check GMP’s web page and Facebook page for information.
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:
Before outages occur, be sure you have a phone that is hard-wired and does not rely on electricity.
  • 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