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CVPS Update: Much of what’s left is in areas where roads no longer exist

Sept. 2, 2011 – 5 p.m. update

Note: If outage numbers increase beyond this point, they will likely be due to cleanup that requires brief interruptions, or new outages unrelated to the storm.

CVPS expects to finish restoration Saturday night

Fewer than 800 CVPS customers remain without power

Much of what’s left is in areas where roads no longer exist

CVPS crews, support staff and contractors are nearing the end of a historic restoration effort tonight, but what’s left to restore is completely dependent on road access, and in many places, roads simply do not exist where they once did.

As of 5 p.m., more than 72,000 of the 73,000-plus customer outages have been restored. Less than 800 CVPS customer remain without power in Windsor, Windham and Orange counties. CVPS expects to restore power to all the homes that we can access and that can receive electrical service safely by Saturday night. There remain a handful of areas cut off by washouts and landslides, and homes that cannot safely take electrical service due to flooding and storm damage.

Many of the homes left without power from Hurricane Irene can only be reached by all-terrain vehicles, not bucket trucks, at this point. Many of the areas left to restore power also require rebuilding entire sections of line in new locations due to washouts.

Forestry Manager Duane Dickinson rode his mountain bike to homes along what was Pikes Falls Road in Jamaica and reported that a river was now flowing through the middle of a home he could reach only after wading through the river, after leaving his bicycle behind.

In Stockbridge, Operations Supervisor Jon Martin reported that there were now boulders as big as bucket trucks where the road used to be in the Stony Brook area. “I thought it was bad in Rochester,” Martin said. “Our four-wheelers have gone as far as they can go in some areas. There are landslides on top of road washouts.”

“We’re not done,” said President Larry Reilly. “Our work week does not end tonight. Crews, support staff and contractors will continue to work until we get power back to every last customer who can safely receive electrical service. There are going to be many who need electrical inspections due to flooding, but when they are ready, we’ll be there to restore power.”

CVPS is also now monitoring forecasts of potentially severe weather this weekend, and Monday including moderate to heavy rain Sunday night into Monday, which may cause flash flooding and additional outages.

CVPS urged Vermonters to use extra caution around waterways, many of which are still flowing at very high levels, and new rainfall can cause and has caused flash flooding.

As we restore power to the last customers, we want to ensure that we are not missing any customers at this point. If your still do not have power, please call CVPS at 1-800-451-2877, and confirm your outage.  However, many customers throughout the state have flood damage to their homes. If a customer’s home or business was flooded, and their electric service panel was affected by water, it has to be examined by a qualified electrician before CVPS can restore service.  CVPS is waiving all fees for temporary service connections required due to the storm.  The fee is normally $80.

Some customers in the most remote areas remain inaccessible due to road washouts, but road crews are improving access for utility vehicles daily.  Collaboration with local and state Agency of Transportation officials, and the National Guard, continues.

In some cases it is not a question of when the road will be re-opened, but rather when will the new temporary road be built.

Up-to-date outage numbers (by town) can be found at: http://www.cvps.com/CustomerService/outages/ and http://vtoutages.com/

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 your 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.

Christine Rivers
Central Vermont Public Service
Recognized by Forbes as One of the Most Trustworthy Companies in America
(802) 747-5284
(802) 742-2415 (pager)
www.cvps.com

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