CVPS wins second national award for storm response

first_imgVermont s largest electric company has won the industry s highest honor for storm recovery for the second time.CVPS President Bob Young today was presented the Edison Electric Institute s 2008 Emergency Recovery Award for the company s response to an historic ice storm in December.  The company s preemptive planning led to the restoration of service to more than 70 percent of affected customers after just one day, and complete restoration within a week. CVPS is the smallest company to ever receive the honor which it won for the second straight year. This is a tribute to the selflessness of our employees, the quality of our planning and the urgency of our response, Young said.  After we won the award for our response to the 2007 Nor icane, we never expected to face such devastation again, but December s ice storm brought tremendous challenges. Employees single-minded focus on our customers turned what could have been one of our darkest hours into one of our finest, Young said.  Many employees lives were relegated to working, sleeping and eating throughout our recovery and then many of them volunteered to go to New Hampshire to help out there.  We are blessed to have some of the finest workers in the industry.The ice storm wreaked unprecedented damage in southern and eastern Vermont, knocking down thousands of trees and power lines, along with cell service and radio communications.  CVPS marshaled all of its resources and brought in contractors and mutual aid from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada.CVPS, which has 95 line workers, nearly tripled the number of line crews, bringing in 170 outside line workers, 150 tree workers and 75 other outside workers.  It required a massive logistics effort to supply, feed, supervise, organize and house them.  Hundreds of other CVPS employees provided support.John teRiele, CVPS s director of transmission and distribution, praised other utilities and state and local officials for their assistance, which he called invaluable.  Everyone we asked for help provided it, he said.  Vermont Electric Cooperative was particularly helpful, sending some of their crews, procuring staff from northern municipal utilities that were unaffected, and covering for them with skeleton crews left behind.Scott Massie, who manages CVPS s central scheduling office, said the restoration effort, though complex and difficult, was made easier by an outpouring of support from customers.  The amount of damage and the rural nature of the hardest-hit areas were daunting, Massie said.  But customers, through calls, letters and personal support, reminded us why we do what we do for a living.Dave Miller, operations supervisor for CVPS s Brattleboro District, which includes the rural towns of Readsboro, Marlboro, Dover and surrounding towns which were among the hardest hit welcomed the storm award, but hopes its CVPS s last.  I m proud of how we responded, but I hope I never see such devastation again, Miller said.  It is really no surprise that CVPS earned accolades from the Edison Electric Institute for a second year in a row.  With its exemplary storm response and safety record, Vermont s largest electric utility has long been the envy of the industry, said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 Business Manager Jeffrey Wimette.  Our union is very proud to have 216 members working for CVPS.  This award is a wonderful example of labor and management cooperatively fostering a workforce that takes customer service and the success of the company very seriously.The EEI Emergency Recovery Award is presented annually. Winners are selected based on the ability to respond swiftly and efficiently, overcome difficult circumstances, utilize unique or innovative techniques, communicate effectively with customers, and restore service promptly. A panel of judges selected CVPS following an international nomination process.Final statistics from the December storm include:CVPS s repair costs totaled an estimated $5.1 million, a CVPS record, surpassing the 2007 nor icane.49,100 customers were affected.42.7 percent of CVPS customers lost service in the Royalton District, 62.7 percent in the Brattleboro District and 70 percent in the Springfield District.60 of 105 distribution feeders were affected.120 poles were broken.Employees and contractors worked an estimated 75,000 man-hours to restore service.last_img

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