PLYMOUTH, NH – With the last reconnection of service on November 7 to an empty cottage on Bear Island in Meredith, power was fully restored to all members of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) following the worst wind storm on record for the utility.
At the height of the October 30 storm, 52,300 members, or 65% of the entire membership, had lost power. That figure surpasses the 49,000 members who lost power during the 2008 Ice Storm. Wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour sent trees and limbs crashing on to power lines in hundreds of locations across NHEC service territory, from Derry to Pittsburg.
The subsequent restoration effort involved NHEC line crews and the addition of nearly 100 out of state crews from New York, Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, Florida and Canada. After seven days, crews had restored power to all affected members, with the exception of members located on the islands of Lake Winnipesaukee.
Unlike some weather events that affect only parts of NHEC service territory, the October 30 storm cut a path of destruction across the entire state. Outages were reported in every one of the 115 towns served by NHEC. Damage was particularly bad in certain areas, most notably in the western New Hampshire towns of Plainfield and Cornish, as well as the southern Lakes Region towns of Alton, Gilmanton and Barnstead.
Line crews in buckets are the most visible part of the power restoration effort following a major storm like this one, but behind the scenes they are supported by dozens of individuals and businesses whose acts of kindness, large and small, demonstrate the best of the cooperative spirit. NHEC thanks its members for their patience and support during this trying time, particularly those members and businesses that made it possible for our crews to work as quickly and comfortably as possible.
At the risk of leaving out members and businesses who gave their time and effort to help our line crews, NHEC wishes to thank the following businesses that went above and beyond…
Thank you to the anonymous employee of the Wash N Go laundromat in Alton, who washed and folded lineworkers’ clothes every day for free, and sent them out each morning with a plate of fudge.
Thank you to Biederman’s Deli in Plymouth, where they set up a nightly sandwich assembly line to have lunches ready for delivery to line crews by 5 a.m. every morning.
Thank you to the Salt Hill Pub Shanty in Newbury, where they stayed open on their off days to feed line crews and opened a breakfast service for line crews only.
Thank you to the Sunapee Lake Lodge, which, despite being sold out, cleaned and opened a closed wing of the hotel to accommodate the influx of line crews.
Thank you to Candia Lumber & Hardware, which donated propane cylinders so NHEC forklifts could keep unloading equipment and supplies.
Thank you to River’s Edge Grille & Tavern in Center Ossipee, which kept its kitchen open late to feed line crews and always had breakfast ready first thing in the morning.
Thank you to the Common Man Inn & Spa in Plymouth, which opened early and stayed open late to offer line crews a breakfast and dinner buffet for the duration of the restoration effort.
Thank you to the Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery in Raymond, the Farmer’s Kitchen in Farmington, Johnson’s Seafood & Steak in New Durham and all the other establishments that responded on a moment’s notice and pitched in to keep the crews working.
As is the case with every major storm, NHEC will be reviewing what worked well in this restoration and what didn’t. We know we can improve our performance, both in the field and in our communications with members. We will use lessons learned from this, our largest-ever outage, to serve our members better in the next event.