On November 15, 2023

Killington Select Board discusses plan for zero outages by 2030

 

By Curt Peterson

On Oct. 23, three Green Mountain Power (GMP) representatives presented their plan for eliminating local outages to the Killington Select Board.

Without electricity, wintertime Killington is just a very cold, very quiet mountain littered with dark businesses and houses, and hundreds of stalled lift chairs swinging in the wind. The town of 1,500 permanent residents hosts up to 20,000 visitors on a busy weekend. Without power, there’s not much for them to spend money on. 

Twice in December 2019 the electricity, which is Killington’s lifeblood, stopped.

On the morning of the 28th, a tree fell on a line in Mendon, a line that brings juice to Killington. For an hour and a half, everything stopped. According to a Boston Globe report, there were more than a thousand cold skiers stranded on the lifts, waiting to be rescued.

Select Board member Chris Karr remembered the other event — an announced power shut-down on Dec. 31 so GMP could perform “emergency repairs.”

“It was New Year’s Eve,” said Karr, who owns multiple entertainment and food establishments in Killington. “They had to shut the lifts down. It greatly affected our ability to do business.” 

Although the two 2019 incidents didn’t involve “car vs. pole” crashes, they represent the biggest risk of power interruption.

As part of GMP’s “Killington Area Reliability Project,” the presenters explained that the town receives electricity via two transmission lines. They plan to replace the Sherburne substation to improve connectivity and stabilize power by connecting the two transmission lines. Some of the equipment to be improved or replaced is 60 years old.

Two substations are involved in the Killington project, and GMP hopes to begin work on the first during 2025. Each substation will take about a year to be brought up to date.

The GMP representatives said their goal is “to improve reliability.”

Public Utility Commission approval will be required before GMP can add a new substation. The Select Board was asked only to inform Killington residents of the plan, and no action by the board is required.

The Killington project is part of a seven-year GMP campaign to guarantee “Zero Outages by 2030” throughout its vast Vermont power grid system. When completed, it’s expected to cost between $30 and $40 million.

 

 

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