Most service to be restored by late tonight, but some outages to last into Wednesday
Despite new outages that continued to occur this morning, Green Mountain Power expects to restore service to most customers affected by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy by midnight tonight. Some individual outages in the most rural and hard-hit areas are likely to last into Wednesday, as there are hundreds of outages affecting small numbers of customers, but an army of workers is making steady progress on more than 43000 outages wrought by the storm.
“We are pleased with the progress we’ve made, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us,” GMP President and CEO Mary Powell said. “We have hundreds of repairs to do, many of them affecting just one or two customers, but we have a lot of resources at our disposal.
“The merger of GMP and Central Vermont Public Service, along with the massive influx of resources we obtained from out of state, have paid big dividends in restoring service so quickly,” Powell said. “Working as one company, we’ve been able to move large numbers of people to the worst-affected areas.”
GMP said power is expected be completely restored in Franklin, Chittenden, Addison, Orange, Essex, Caledonia and Washington counties this evening. Most customers in Rutland, Windham, Windsor and Bennington counties should also be back online by late tonight, but pockets of outages will likely last into Wednesday.
“Given the number and severity of some of the outages we faced, we have made greater and faster progress than we had expected,” Powell said. “We are already working with the Northeast Mutual Assistance Group to arrange to send contractors and internal resources to help other utilities starting tomorrow morning. More than 6 million customers are without service in the Northeast.”
GMP said as of 4 p.m., crews have restored service to 37,289 of the 43,155 customers affected; 5,866 remain without service. Nearly 1,000 people are involved in the restoration effort, including hundreds of line and tree workers who came from as far away as Florida, Mississippi and California.
Sandy’s remnants arrived Monday afternoon in Vermont, with winds building through the night and continuing this morning. Bennington, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties were hit hardest, with heavy damage in many areas. High wind gusts associated with the remnants of the storm continued to lash portions of the Green Mountains this morning, knocking out electrical service to new customers almost as quickly as line crews could restore it to others.
Many times, repairs take hours to restore service to relatively few customers. In Stamford, for example, crews arrived at a reported problem on Sportsmen Road to find a tangle of downed trees, a broken pole and an impassable road. It will take several hours to clean up and repair the damage, which affects 11 customers.
GMP offered customers the following safety tips:
· Call 911 for any life-threatening emergencies.
· 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 the power is 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, visiting GMP’s Outage Center page at www.greenmountainpower.com, our website for mobile m.greenmountainpower.com or by clicking the “Power Out?” button on GMP’s Facebook page. Customers with smart meters should continue to call to report outages as the reporting function of the new meters is not yet being used.