BENNINGTON — The message to those still sitting in the dark, waiting for their power to be restored after this week’s nor’easter: Line workers from Canada and other states are working with local crews around the clock to get the lights back on across the state, says Green Mountain Power.
“The crews are working … they’ve been working since the storm hit, and they are making of lot of progress,” said utility Vice President Kristin Carlson on Thursday.
She said roughly 75,000 customers have had their power restored, with about 12,000 still in the dark as of this morning.
But she anticipated quick progress for most of those, although some probably won’t have power for another day.
Carlson said about 500 line workers from Canada, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island are in Vermont to help. The initial focus at the start of the storm was on assisting local emergency crews safely clear roadways of downed trees and wires.
“The problem with this storm was it was high winds coupled with heavy, wet snow that led to this cement-like snow that built up on trees and wires,” she said. Those winds brought down trees and electric wires.
Carlson said the power company was prepared for the storm, but was somewhat surprised by the duration. Citing climate change, she added, “We are seeing an increase in frequency and severity of storms.”
The utility displayed a state map (greenmountainpower.com/outages) that showed town-by-town the number of outages. At the start of the storm on Tuesday morning, Windham County and southeastern Vermont were clearly experiencing significant outages. One of the hardest hit communities was Chester, which still showed more than 1,000 outages as of noon Thursday.
In addition, Brattleboro, Guilford, Newfane and Townshend were showing a large number of outages.
In Bennington County, Pownal remained a hard-hit community, with hundreds still in the dark as of noon. Londonderry had 240 outages; Shaftsbury 192; Arlington 142, and Bennington — which emergency workers agree weathered the storm well — 77. Manchester, which just a day earlier had about 600 outages, was down to 66 today.
“That map ... explains the density of outages,” Carlson said. “Early on the storm crews were partnering with first responders to clear the roads for safety … just clearing roads from these massive trees. Now, they are (focused on) restoring power.
“We’re expecting to make a lot of progress today,” Carlson said. “In some of the hardest hit areas, it could still be another day.”
She said line crews started with a priority of safety — clearing roadways — then focused on restoring power to emergency locations like hospitals, then restored downtowns, so there is a power network in place to reach those in more remote locations.
The crews, she said, “are trained professionals. This is what they do. They are all focused on getting people restored.”