Service Workers Say Snow Banks Complicate Their Jobs

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(Host) Your driveway may be shoveled well enough to get your car in and out. 

But as VPR’s Nina Keck reports, fuel truck drivers and others who go door to door say the snow has been a huge headache.

(Keck) Sleet and snow may not stop them. But if your mailbox has been plowed in – don’t expect your postal carrier to go looking for it.  

The same is true for your electric meter. Central Vermont Public Service says their employees are doing everything they can to trudge through the snow to read meters.

But if they can’t, they’ll estimate usage. CVPS spokesman Steve Costello says it’s also risky to leave your meters buried.

(Costello)  "In the event of fire, oftentimes we have to pull a meter to shut off power at the site. And if we can’t get to the meter, that can delay the response of fire crews and emergency workers. So it’s a bigger safety thing than people might think."

(Keck) Scott Sullivan, who owns the Rutland Fuel Company, says his drivers make about 100 fuel deliveries a day and all the snow has added 40 to 50 percent more work.

(Sullivan) "It is brutal. They have to get out and pull a hose and what you have over these hard packed snow banks. They have to scramble up over. You can’t just walk through them. You have to walk over them.  And then on the other side of the snow bank is this soft snow that you sink into to your knees – sometimes even higher."

(Keck)  He says only two of their trucks have had to be towed, but his drivers come back each day looking like they’ve run a marathon.

(Sullivan) "We understand it’s difficult. But any customer who can shovel a path to their fuel pipe gets a special star of recognition in our drivers’ eyes, anyway."

(Keck) Especially since the cold temperatures have boosted demand.   

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland

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