Vermont Electric Coop August 31, 2011 Johnson, VT Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc,At 11:45 pm on Tuesday, Vermont Electric Cooperative’s (VEC) operations center announced that the final restoration of VEC power outages caused by tropical storm Irene had been completed. During the course of this major outage event, about 10,000 VEC members experienced power outages of varying lengths. Outages began to occur on Sunday as high winds and heavy rains moved through VEC’s service territory. While most outages were restored within the first 24 hours, others lingered into Tuesday. The combination of deeply saturated soil, fully leaved trees and high winds led to conditions in which trees of all sizes toppled onto electric lines and into right of way areas. Also hampering restoration efforts were numerous road closures due to damage caused by flash floods. ‘Irene caused one of the biggest outage events in VEC history,’ said CEO Dave Hallquist. ‘Fortunately, we had time to prepare and we were ready when the storm hit. The VEC service territory was spared the catastrophic damage seen in other parts of Vermont and we now stand ready to provide assistance to other utilities.’ Utility workers and tree crews from Vermont and as far away as Tennessee, Missouri, Michigan, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio and Illinois mobilized to join VEC line workers in the restoration effort. VEC support staff worked round the clock until the last outage was repaired, and with over 200 workers on hand, VEC’s workforce more than doubled to deal with the aftermath of Irene. VEC’s system of smart meters also played an important role in reducing the duration of this epic outage event. Smart meters aided control center employees by communicating real time information about outages. This critical data enabled operations staff to quickly develop and implement an effective system restoration strategy and send line crews directly to the source of outages. VEC members were provided with up-to-date outage information and restoration estimates as they became available. ‘We were able to stay in communication with our members throughout the outage,’ continued Hallquist. ‘Our top priorities are to ensure public and employee safety when restoring power to VEC members. As outage information became available we were able to share details and estimated restoration times with our members by phone, on our website, via Facebook and more so that they could plan accordingly.’ During the coming weeks VEC crews will clean up the aftermath of damage caused by Irene by repairing damaged utility infrastructure and by clearing fallen trees and limbs in order to prevent future outages.