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Power Restored To Most in Valley

— Most Upper Valley residents went to bed last night with their power restored after spending two days in the dark following Hurricane Sandy.

For Vermonters, Green Mountain Power officials expected that all power would be restored by late last night. At 7 p.m., the company was reporting only five outages, with two of them being in Sharon and Hartford.

On the New Hampshire side, the story isn’t as promising. About 41,000 Granite State customers were still without power at 7 p.m. last night, down from the 210,000 power outages that occurred at the peak of the storm.

But in the Upper Valley, the story was less grim. At about 4 p.m. yesterday, nearly 600 Upper Valley residents were without power in New Hampshire, but three hours later, the numbers had dropped to 200. The highest outages in New Hampshire at 7 p.m. were reported by the New Hampshire Electric Co-op, which had 63 outages in Piermont, 40 in Lyme, 10 in Dorchester and 11 in Unity. Public Service of New Hampshire was also reporting 35 outages in Croydon, 24 in Grantham, 13 in New London and 15 in Sunapee.

New Hampshire power companies are hoping to have most of their power restored by tomorrow, said Katya Brennan, deputy public information officer at the state’s emergency operations center in Concord. As of yesterday afternoon, there were still three state roads closed and 61 municipal roads.

In Grafton, the volunteer fire house was without power from 7 p.m. Monday to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Chief John Babiarz said he and his crew were in a meeting Monday discussing their plans for the storm when the power went out. Babiarz calmly turned on his flashlight, switched on the generator and went back to the meeting.

Babiarz said there were six firefighters that helped remove trees from the road this week. Since the department doesn’t have a bucket truck, the rule was that if a tree was stuck on a power line and was above the reach of a chainsaw, then it would be left to the power companies to untangle.

Early yesterday afternoon, there were still 235 customers in Grafton without power, including Bob Hull. But the power returned to Hull’s home around 3 p.m. Hull had been powering his home with generators for two days.

“As you know, the power goes out quite often,” Hull said. “If there’s a slight breeze power’s out.” But State Fire Marshal Bill Degnan warned that residents should be careful when using portable generators. They should not be used in garages or basements because they can cause deadly build up of Carbon Monoxide. Several generator fires had been reported in the state because they had been used in garages or decks.

During the last three days, Green Mountain Power had more than 48,000 outages. Since nearly all of their customers had restored power last night, the company has made plans to send 70 line workers and support staff to more devastated areas. Crews will leave from the company’s Brattleboro office at 7:30 a.m. today to head to Connecticut.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223. The Associated Press contributed to this report.