Vermont utility crews make final push to restore all power

first_imgAfter 48 hours of tireless around-the-clock work, Central Vermont Public Service utility crews are converging on Addison County and the Jericho/Underhill area to restore power to the last 1,540 CVPS customers. More than 32,000 CVPS customer outages occurred from the massive East Coast storm that brought severe high winds to Vermont Wednesday. Green Mountain Power has restored power to virtually all its customers. But Vermont Electric Cooperative is still digging out and it may be until Saturday before all its customers in its hard-hit region have their power restored.A crew from New Hampshire Electric Cooperative assists Vermont Electric Cooperative in installing a new power poll to replace a downed one on Oak Hill Road in Williston. Several polls were downed in Williston and a portion of the road was closed for more than a day because of downed power lines and trees.Hundreds of CVPS workers, including field and support staff, assisted by more than 100 outside contractors from all across New England, are working to restore the last 775 CVPS customers in Rutland and Addison counties, and 670 CVPS customers in Jericho and Underhill, and other scattered outages.Vermont Electric Cooperative was reporting more than 3,400 customers still without power as of mid-day today. VEC covers some of the hardest hit areas of Chittenden, Franklin and Lamoille counties. All of the other Vermont utilities are reporting a total of only 26 customers remaining without power following a rain and wind storm that ripped across the northwestern part of the state Wednesday with greater-than-hurricane force winds. More than 35,000 total customers had lost power at some point during the storm.‘Crews and support staff have been working 16- to 18-hour shifts around the clock since Wednesday morning, and will keep working until our last customers are restored.’ CVPS Vice President of Engineering, Operations and Customer Service Joe Kraus said. ‘This storm did historic damage in Jericho and Underhill, and our crews will continue to work in that area and Addison and Rutland counties through today and possibly into tomorrow. We appreciate everyone’s patience, and help in our restoration efforts, especially the many town road crews and town officials in the hardest-hit areas.’‘We want to remind people to stay away from any down power lines and anything in contact with those lines ‘ at least 50 feet,’ said spokeswoman Christine Rivers.There may be some CVPS customers without power into Saturday, but most customers should be restored by tonight. When CVPS crews are finished with their restoration efforts, the company plans to provide whatever help it can to Vermont Electric Co-op. Green Mountain Power has also been lending its crews to help CVPS and VEC restore power.South Road in Williston: A tree rests on a power line just down the road from several uprooted trees.The extreme winds wreaked havoc with VEC’s system in particular. VEC stated that the extent of the damage was much worse than originally anticipated with reports of over 70 broken poles, downed trees and power lines.‘Crews will be in full force on Friday as restoration efforts continue,’ said VEC’s Jeffrey Wright, Chief Operating Officer. ‘We’ve been able to more than double our resources since yesterday securing additional crews from Burlington Electric, Green Mountain Power and New Hampshire, and several more contract crews. We now have four times the amount of resources than we had yesterday. The additional resources make it possible to have crews assigned to all outage areas today.’ VEC expects to make significant headway on Friday and anticipates that most members in Hinesburg, Fairfax, Bakersfield, Williston, Jericho and Underhill will have power restored by the end of the day. It is foreseeable that approximately 1,500 members will still be without power going into the weekend however, restoration efforts will continue until all members have power. Up-to-date outage numbers (by town) can be found at: http://www.cvps.com/CustomerService/outages/default.aspx(link is external) and http://vtoutages.com/(link is external)CVPS offered several safety tips for coping with the outages:* STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED POWER LINES. Don’t touch or even go near downed wires! These wires can be energized and can cause serious injuries or death. If the line is blocking the road or in contact with a vehicle with people inside, call you local police or fire emergency number first. Then call CVPS. Instruct others to keep at least 50 feet away, and keep pets and livestock away as well.* Assume all objects touching the power line are also energized. Never attempt to remove trees or limbs from any utility lines! Notify CVPS of the situation.* If using a generator, read and follow the owner’s manual before starting the generator. 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.Additional safety tips can be found at: http://www.cvps.com/Safety/StormSafety.aspx(link is external) Source: CVPS. Dec. 3, 2010 ‘ 7:30 a.m. ‘last_img

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