- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

JOHNSON, Vt. (AP) - A small Vermont utility says December’s ice storm in the northern part of the state was the biggest storm in its history.

Vermont Electric Cooperative responded to nearly 60,000 power outages through the storm, which hit during the holiday week. Some customers experienced multiple outages.

CEO David Hallquist said the total cost of power restoration came to roughly $7.4 million, while $1.8 million was the most spent on a storm previously.

“So, it’s pretty staggering in terms of cost,” he said.

The cooperative qualifies for FEMA disaster funds, which could help cover all but about $2 million in cleanup costs, Vermont Public Radio reported (https://bit.ly/1f8Tsa0).

The utility plans to absorb those costs through efficiencies, and hopes to avoid increasing rates, Hallquist said.

“We’d try to minimize rate impact. But we’re also going to defer it as long as we can to see if we can do something in our other areas to absorb those costs,” he said.

Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, last month announced it would add a “storm surcharge” to bills this year to cover the costs of storm response last year.

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Information from: WVPS-FM, https://www.vpr.net

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