Unprecedented Wind Storm Affects VEC Service Territory- 17,000 Members Restored By Saturday

November 4, 2017

Johnson, VT- By mid-day Saturday, Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) had restored power to just under 40% of its service territory, repairing over 374 separate outages that impacted over 17,000 members.  All hands were on deck all week to respond to this unique and challenging event.  As VEC worked to wrap up the final power restorations, employees wanted Co-op members to know how appreciative they are for their patience and support during what was a multiple day outage for many members.

The Co-op knows that losing power for even a short amount of time can be very difficult.

Rural parts of the state were hit particularly hard by this wind event. Sustained 45 mile per hour winds knocked down large trees and snapped dozens of poles.  In some areas, such as Williston, Richmond, and Hinesburg, trees had fallen on the lines about every 1000 feet.  At last count, VEC had 65 broken poles, which take a significant amount of time to repair. Broken poles can take 6 or more hours with at a least 4 person crew, a bucket truck, a digger truck and other related equipment.

On Friday, VEC also had some unrelated system incidents that required attention and resources, including two car pole accidents.  “Sometimes there is a confluence of events outside of our control, but our team always rises to the task.  I am very proud of how everyone at VEC pitched in – the expanded member service team, the employees in the control room, in addition to the great work from the crews in the field,” said Christine Hallquist, VEC’s Chief Executive Officer. “We particularly appreciate the support of our members who understand that in a rural community it can often require more resources and more time to get the power back on, especially for those members located at the end of a line. Getting those ‘one’s and ‘two’s’ back on can really push out the final closure of an incident response.  With 32,000 members across 2,000 square miles, VEC is indeed a rural utility”.

To assist in the response, VEC brought in 50 line clearance contractors and 6 pole setting workers as well as outside line workers.  Eighteen line workers from three Co-ops in Illinois as well as local crews from Burlington Electric, Orleans Electric, Swanton Electric, and Green Mountain Power assisted to help get the power back on.  All of New England was hit hard by this event, with almost one million people affected at the height, and the demand for line crews outstripped supply. 

Hallquist encouraged members who may have questions to call the VEC Member Service team at 1-800-832-2667.  The VEC outage page posts updated estimated restoration times for all VEC outages: https://www.vermontelectric.coop/outage.Rural parts of the state were hit particularly hard by this wind event. Sustained 45 mile per hour winds knocked down large trees and snapped dozens of poles.  In some areas, such as Williston, Richmond, and Hinesburg, trees had fallen on the lines about every 1000 feet.  At last count, VEC had 65 broken poles, which take a significant amount of time to repair. Broken poles can take 6 or more hours with at a least 4 person crew, a bucket truck, a digger truck and other related equipment.

On Friday, VEC also had some unrelated system incidents that required attention and resources, including two car pole accidents.  “Sometimes there is a confluence of events outside of our control, but our team always rises to the task.  I am very proud of how everyone at VEC pitched in – the expanded member service team, the employees in the control room, in addition to the great work from the crews in the field,” said Christine Hallquist, VEC’s Chief Executive Officer. “We particularly appreciate the support of our members who understand that in a rural community it can often require more resources and more time to get the power back on, especially for those members located at the end of a line. Getting those ‘one’s and ‘two’s’ back on can really push out the final closure of an incident response.  With 32,000 members across 2,000 square miles, VEC is indeed a rural utility”.

To assist in the response, VEC brought in 50 line clearance contractors and 6 pole setting workers as well as outside line workers.  Eighteen line workers from three Co-ops in Illinois as well as local crews from Burlington Electric, Orleans Electric, Swanton Electric, and Green Mountain Power assisted to help get the power back on.  All of New England was hit hard by this event, with almost one million people affected at the height, and the demand for line crews outstripped supply. 

Hallquist encouraged members who may have questions to call the VEC Member Service team at 1-800-832-2667.  The VEC outage page posts updated estimated restoration times for all VEC outages: https://www.vermontelectric.coop/outage.

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