Home News and Features The Christmas Power Outage of 2022: Behind the Scenes

The Christmas Power Outage of 2022: Behind the Scenes

Washington Electric Co-op lineman Donnie Singleton carries part of a downed and de-energized power line, getting ready to splice it. Photo by John Lazenby during a previous power outage.
Workers from the Littleton, Mass., Electric Department, Vance Line Construction of West Danville, and Washington Electric Co-op put downed power lines back together off Cummings Road in East Montpelier on Dec. 29. The line destruction there was in some ways a microcosm of the worst damage WEC’s lines suffered from the Dec. 23–24 storm because it involved poles that were shattered by falling trees and branches and had to be replaced with new ones. The holes where the original poles stood had to be re-dug, new poles installed and squared up, power lines spliced back together, and hardware transferred from the old poles to the new ones once they were up and straight. Multiply that process by the miles of lines around central Vermont to get an idea of the work needed to restore power.

All photos by John Lazenby. A gallery of photos of the line work is at lazenbyphoto.com/winter-storm-elliott-picking-up-the-pieces

Tree-cutting crews had to cut and clear branches and trees first so that the line crews could repair poles and lines.
A power pole, broken in half by a falling tree, lies on the ground as the crew from Vance Line Construction of West Danville works to install a new pole.
Above, Washington Electric Co-op lineman Donnie Singleton prepares a wire for a splice. Below, Singleton walks between the sites of two broken power line poles.
Hannah Ainsworth of Vance Line Construction in West Danville, next to a downed pole and transformer.
Vance Line Construction workers Brandon Pope, left, and Jordan Sinclair steady a new pole as it is moved into position.