Vermont Electric Co-op line workers head to New Hampshire
Early Wednesday morning, fourteen Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) line workers traveling in bucket trucks and other utility vehicles headed south to provide mutual aid assistance to utilities hard hit by power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy. Crews initially reported to Green Mountain Power (GMP), but were redeployed to provide assistance to New Hampshire Electric Cooperative and will support utilities in other states as needed in the coming days, and possibly, weeks.
Approximately 6,000 VEC members, or customers, experienced power outages which began at 4:00 p.m. on Monday as high winds toppled trees of all sizes onto electric lines. By evening on Tuesday, all of VEC’s storm related outages were restored, yet utilities throughout the eastern United States were just beginning to grapple with the devastation caused by Sandy which left more than 8 million without electricity.
VEC crews were sent home to rest before being deployed early Wednesday to provide mutual aid assistance to other utilities. At the time of their departure, it was unclear as to how long they would be away. “This is an unprecedented outage event and VEC will do our part to help recovery efforts,” said Dave Hallquist, CEO. “We are extremely proud of our employees’ commitment to ensure public safety and to rebuild severely damaged infrastructure.”
Electric utilities have a long-standing practice of providing mutual aid to one another when needed. About half of VEC’s line workers will remain in Vermont to ensure day to day operational needs are met. Additionally, many of Vermont’s smaller municipal utilities stand ready to provide assistance to VEC if needed.