CONCORD — An official with the Vermont company that owns the state’s electrical transmission grid says vandalism to a line that runs from Quebec to Massachusetts cost New England ratepayers about $1 million.
Vermont Electric Power Company Vice President Kerrick Johnson says that cost was to buy replacement power while the line in the Northeast Kingdom town of Concord was shut down for repairs. Replacing the shot-out insulators cost about $250,000.
The transmission line is capable of carrying 10 percent of the electricity used throughout New England.
The damage was discovered last Friday and took two days to repair.
The Caledonian Record reports 167 insulators were shot out. The case was reviewed by state and federal authorities to determine if it was terrorist-related, but it’s being treated as vandalism.
Green Mountain Power late Tuesday reported it had restored power to all but 1,427 customers following the Hurricane Sandy damage.
The company said it was on the homestretch of the cleanup effort.
By this morning the number had climbed to over 1,800 as more storms brought more rain and wind to the state.
The latest outage figures are available on the GMP website at www.greenmountainpower.com.
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s largest electric utility says it will release its outside line and tree trimming crews to work in states harder hit by Superstorm Sandy once they are no longer needed in the state.
Green Mountain Power brought in about 250 outside line crews ready to help restore power. Those crews have been working since the storm hit Monday to repair damage, but the storm did less damage than feared.
Still, Vermont’s utilities are reporting about 10,500 customers without power and new outages are continuing. Of that number, about 9,400 are GMP customers.
GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure says officials still don’t know when they will be able to fully restore power, but once it becomes clear their own crews can finish the job, they will release the outside crews.
KILLINGTON — Vermont’s Killington ski resort says it’s going to power one of its lifts this season with electricity generated from methane gas recovered from cow manure.
The resort is planning to power its K-1 Express Gondola with electricity generated through Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program, which enables customers to purchase all or part of their electricity at a premium and support Vermont’s dairy farms
The program works by collecting cow manure, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment and then pumping that slurry into a digester where it is heated for three weeks. The process converts the manure into biogas that is 60 percent methane.
The methane is then used to power a generator, which sends power to the electric grid.
MONTPELIER — A Vermont company has signed a deal to build a natural gas pipeline under Lake Champlain to transport fuel to a New York paper plant.
Vermont Gas says the line to International Paper in Ticonderoga, N.Y., is to be completed within three years.
The deal is costing the plant $70 million. It will need state and federal permits.
Vermont Public Radio reports Vermont Gas had already planned to run a line south from Chittenden County to Middlebury. Company spokesman Steve Wark said the Champlain project means Vermont Gas can extend the line further south sooner than planned.
International Paper spokeswoman Donna Wadsworth said the switch to natural gas will reduce fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company now burns fuel oil.
PROCTOR — Green Mountain Power will interrupt electric service to customers in the Proctor area overnight Saturday, Oct. 20, into the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 21, to make badly needed upgrades to the former Vermont Marble Power system.
The work was originally scheduled for Oct. 13, but had to be rescheduled due to weather. If it must be postponed again this week, the work will be rescheduled for one week later on Oct. 27-28.
The outage is scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. Saturday and last until approximately 7 a.m. Sunday. The interruption is necessary to provide safe working conditions for Green Mountain Power crews to make system upgrades, specifically the reconstruction of the Proctor substation, which will provide more reliable power to the customers it serves.
The outage will affect most Proctor residents and a handful of customers in the town of Pittsford along Route 3 just north of Proctor.
In case of inclement weather, the outage will be postponed until Saturday, Oct. 20, at the same time.
A water main has broken on Center Street this afternoon in downtown Rutland and the street has been closed down as crews work to repair the damage.
Center Street is closed at Wales Street at one end and Merchants Row at the other.
Water is seeping out of the pavement in the center of the street in front of Kong Chow Fusion.
Some businesses on Center Street are without water.
Alan Shelvey, city engineer, said it looked like a water main break, typical with the city’s more than 100-year-old water system comprised of 110 miles of water pipes, some iron.
Shelvey said the city is making progress in replacing some of the oldest water lines, like the most recent project on Woodstock Avenue that replaced a circa 1858-water pipe.
The main concern when small breaks happen, according to Shelvey, is basement flooding.
ST. JOHNSBURY — The owner of two dams on the Connecticut River is suing the town of Barnet, Vt., saying its tax appraisals of the structures are too high.
TransCanada Hydro Northeast is taking aim at the tax appraisals assigned to the Comerford and McIndoe Falls dams, which have seen their valuations go from a combined $33.7 million before a recent reappraisal to a combined $47.4 million now.
TransCanada spokesman Grady Semmens says the company is working to reach a settlement with the town and the state of Vermont. But it also has filed suit in Vermont Superior Court for Caledonia County.
Town officials are hoping for the state’s help in paying legal bills. The state hired and paid for an appraiser in 2010 to assign new values to the dams.
TransCanada has also filed an appeal against a tax assessment on a hydro power dam it owns near Bellows Falls.
MONTPELIER — The City Council in Vermont’s capital city will be voting for a second time in as many weeks on a plan to create a wood-fueled district heating system for its downtown district.
But the new plan is revised from the one the council voted down 4-2 last week.
The city has to decide by week’s end whether it wants to hook a downtown heating system to a renovated system in the state complex that burns wood chips.
Councilors who voted against it said they were worried about uncertainties over the cost. The proposal to be voted on today calls for a less extensive system, but one that could be added to later.
MONTPELIER — The merger of Vermont’s two largest utilities may cause rates to rise for another one.
Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and Green Mountain Power want to impose a new, single transmission rate for the electricity it carries on its lines for other companies.
That could mean a 1.25 percent increase in rates for Washington Electric Co-op. Manager Avram Patt says WEC doesn’t believe it should be paying for increases caused simply by the merger itself.
Green Mountain Power said it would cut rates for its own customers by 0.4 percent. Patt says the merger will have the opposite effect on the 10,500-member co-op.
A GMP spokeswoman says the company hasn’t filed for new transmission rates since 1996.