Icing expected to continue to cause outages for several days

23 December 2013

34,000 customers affected by outages, 1,000 remain out

COLCHESTER, Vt. – With cold weather not letting up, Green Mountain Power believes heavy ice on trees will result in new outages over the next several days as tree branches continue to break and sag into power lines.

“Anywhere that trees are still full of ice will be prone to outages over the next few days,” said Dorothy Schnure, GMP’s corporate spokesperson. “With the temperatures predicted to drop into single digits, we are urging people to have a plan to keep their families safe if they lose power and heat.”

The Governor and Vermont Emergency Management Director Joe Flynn are urging residents, particularly those without power in their homes, to make certain they find shelter before it is too late. If you lose power and need assistance please contact Vermont 211 to locate important community resources, like emergency food and shelter.

Green Mountain Power crews and contract line workers and tree trimmers are working diligently at restoring power to the thousands of customers who have lost power as a result of the extended ice storm. As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, 1,000 customers were without power, while more than 33,000 customers have been restored.

“We always assume the worst when we anticipate storms,” said Schnure. “In this case, we mobilized our workforce and brought in several hundred additional crews to bring an intensive response to the storm. As a result, we have been able to respond quickly to our customers and also share some crews with other Vermont utilities who needed them.”
"In many cases, crews have to remove numerous trees laden with ice just to get to the downed lines," Schnure said.   "Crews need to spend a lot of time on every repair, and in many cases have to clean off several sections of line before they can even begin to make repairs."
Hundreds of Green Mountain Power workers and contractors are gearing up to work through the holidays if necessary to restore service to customers as quickly as possible in the wake of the devastating weekend ice storm.

From line crews to call center staff, mechanics to planners, hundreds of workers are putting their holiday plans aside to serve customers.

"While we hope the wave of continuing damage abates and is repaired quickly, employees across the company are changing their travel and family plans to do what is necessary to help our customers," President and CEO Mary Powell said.

Green Mountain Power says that with ice on lines, some customers may experience multiple outages during the restoration period. Customers should report any new outages to GMP.

Customers may report outages by calling 1-888-835-4672, visiting GMP’s Outage Center page at www.greenmountainpower.com or mobile enhanced at m.greenmountainpower.com, or by clicking the “Power Out?” button on GMP’s Facebook site.
GMP offered the following safety advice to prepare for possible extended outages:
· Before outages occur, be sure you have a phone that is hard-wired and does not rely on electricity.
· Be sure to charge up your cell phone in advance of the storm.
· If you have a well, 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 electric utility and fire department, stay at least 50 feet away from the line, and keep children and pets away.
· 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.
· 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.
· Never use grills inside garages, sheds or other buildings, as the fumes can be poisonous.
· For other tips on planning for a winter storm, visit the Vermont Emergency Management at http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness/hazards/winter


About Green Mountain Power
Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which was named 2013 Utility of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association, serves more than 250,000 customers, has set its vision to be the best small company in America. 

 Contact: Dorothy Schnure, Green Mountain Power,
       Work: (802) 655-8418
       Cell: (802) 324-4418