Early Winter Storm – Vermont

As told by Scott Bartlett, OTELCO Director of Outside Plant & Engineering

Apparently Mother Nature was looking at the wrong calendar when she delivered a major taste of winter in and around Shoreham before the season officially began.

By early afternoon on December 9 the snow began to fall, by 4:30 the first of our OTELCO customers was down due to power outages. For the next 3 days the snow continued with the bulk falling in the first 36 hours hitting Benson, Hubbardton and toward Castleton the hardest.

More than 2 feet of snow mixed with ice left everything coated — some of the ice measured in inches. At the height of the storm, we had 9 sites totaling about 536 subscribers without power. Between impassable roads, downed trees, failed or stolen generators, our crews faced just about every imaginable challenge while trying to restore service.

OTELCO was able to purchase additional generators from out of state and deliver a couple from its Maine locations to assist. In addition to the four Vermont technicians on the job, OTELCO deployed additional help Jeremy Butler, from its Bangor office to assist.

The storm finally ended on December 12 and power crews were working all over New England to get power restored. By the week of December 22, OTELCO had restored service and repaired storm or plow damaged equipment to all but the most remote areas. As of January 6, crews were still repairing and replacing damaged cables.