GMP making final prep for storm’s arrival
Green Mountain Power storm managers, line crews and support staff are making final preparations this morning as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy churn north, having left a trail of devastation in the Caribbean.
“Crews are sharpening their chain saws, stowing overnight gear in their trucks and preparing for the worst, even as we hope for the best,” GMP spokesman Jeremy Baker said. “Dozens of crews have arrived from as far away as Tennessee, and dozens more will arrive today from as far away as Florida, Quebec and Ontario.”
Behind the scenes, employees have arranged housing and meals for the army of outside crews, while others have planned everything from damage assessment to delivery of poles, material and equipment to hard-hit areas.
The latest weather forecasts suggest the storm will begin to affect southern Vermont by early afternoon, with potentially hurricane-force winds starting late this afternoon or early evening. Forecasters say there will almost certainly be extensive damage as high winds whip across higher terrain, through mountain passes where they will pick up speed, and onto valley floors.
“This storm should be taken very seriously by all Vermonters,” Baker said. “We have made extensive preparations, and we’re ready to respond once the damage begins to unfold, but the damage could be substantial. We will restore power as quickly as we can safely do so.”
Utility line crews from Canada roll into the Highgate, VT, border crossing early Monday morning, joining forces with GMP as Sandy approaches.
Green Mountain Power secured more than 250 outside line workers and tree trimmers to assist in restoring power to customers and communities. They will work with more than 140 GMP line workers, 130 contract tree trimmers normally working for GMP, and hundreds of support staff.
GMP unveiled a new tool earlier in the week, enhancing 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 still encourage all of our customers to call 1-888-835-4672<tel:1-888-835-4672> first 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.
Every employee at GMP, totaling nearly 700, is on alert and prepared to help customers and communities while we collectively deal with Hurricane Sandy.
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.
Customers may report outages by calling 1-888-835-4672<tel:1-888-835-4672>, visiting GMP’s Outage Center page at www.greenmountainpower.com<http://www.greenmountainpower.com/> or by clicking the “Power Out?” button on GMP’s Facebook site.