CVPS crews help restore electricity in Florida

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(Host) About two dozen employees of Central Vermont Public Service are headed to Florida to help restore power in the wake of two recent hurricanes.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) It’s common for utilities to ask for emergency assistance from neighboring states, but in this case Florida power companies are requesting help from utilities as far away as California and Quebec. They’re trying to clean up from Hurricanes Frances and Charley and keeping an eye on Hurricane Ivan which is still out to sea. Steve Costello is with Central Vermont Public Service.

(Costello) “This is a very unusual situation. They’ve had two back- to-back storms. They’ve been working out straight for a couple of weeks now.”

(Zind) Costello says CVPS is sending 26 line workers, engineers and supervisors to Florida. That represents about one-fifth of the utility’s crews. Costello says the company still has enough manpower to deal with the remnants of the hurricanes as they push through Vermont.

(Costello) “We did take a real hard look at what Frances was doing and even what Ivan might do going forward and factored that into the equation and we feel fairly confident that we’re in good shape in this area.”

(Zind) Costello says the CVPS personnel going to Florida are volunteers motivated by the desire to lend a hand. He says the 16 to 18 hour days will also provide them with extra income. A spokeswoman for Green Mountain Power says GMP has not yet received a request for assistance from the Florida utilities.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind

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