- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The number of power outages from last week’s storms continued to dwindle Monday while the state began totaling the costs and worked to determine if the damage was severe enough to qualify for federal disaster assistance.

By late afternoon Monday, the number of statewide outages dropped to 837.

Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest electric utility, said a tree that fell on a line in Barnard forced the utility to cut power to about 1,500 customers in Windsor and Orange counties Monday afternoon, but once the tree had been cleared and the power turned back on their outage number dropped to 196.

“This storm has caused intense damage statewide,” said GMP spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure.

The Vermont Electric Cooperative said Monday its outages had dropped to about 260. The utility expects its storm costs to reach between $3 million and $4 million.

Over the course of the storm that hit a week ago and continued for several days, more than 130,000 customers were without power for a time and it’s possible some customers lost power more than once, she said.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday to do a preliminary damage assessment, needed to determine if federal aid is warranted.

“This storm was hard on tens of thousands of Vermonters, some of whom were in the dark for several days or more,” Shumlin said. “Private and municipal utilities spent millions of dollars replacing poles, paying crews, and hiring contractors from out of state in restoring power to Vermonters as quickly as they could.”

Meanwhile, the Vermont Transportation Agency said keeping roads clear after last week’s storms cost the state about $2.2 million. The agency said that after the storms began, crews plowed or treated roads continuously, covering 185,000 lane miles.

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