ADDISON COUNTY — Driving rain and wind gusts exceeding 30 miles per hour toppled trees into telephone lines, cutting power to thousands of Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) and Green Mountain Power (GMP) customers.
At about 10 a.m. Monday, CVPS was reporting 2,518 outages in Addison County and GMP was reporting 91. More than 55,000 customers lost power statewide, with officials warning it could be days before electricity was completely restored.
The hardest-hit communities in Addison County, according to CVPS, included Lincoln (811 customers without power), New Haven (560), Cornwall (338), Ripton (241) and Middlebury (110).
“We have a tremendous roster of workers to assist us, but this will be one of the most challenging recovery efforts any of us has ever lived through,” said Joe Kraus, senior vice president for engineering, operations and customer service with CVPS.
Kraus, a 31-year veteran of CVPS, said hundreds of crews from as far away as Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Ontario would assist local line workers. Still, officials served notice it would be along slog.
“We are in uncharted territory,” Kraus said. “In many places, we can’t even get to the damage. It is impossible to say how long it will take to restore power to all customers, but many areas are totally inaccessible, roads are gone, and in some cases, it could take weeks. In areas that we can get to, restoration will likely take days.”
“Until roads are rebuilt and bridges reopen, we will be unable to get into hundreds of neighborhoods and hamlets, particularly in central and southern Vermont,” Kraus added. “While we will work to restore service as quickly as possible, we urge customers to take every precaution to stay safe: Stay away from downed power lines and anything in contact with them. Keep children and pets away.”
While utility crews were out restoring power lines, public works crews and engineers were assessing and repairing damaged roads, culverts and bridges throughout the county.