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Snapped Lincoln pole repaired: Power expected to be back on but Loon remains closed

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 23. 2014 9:53AM
The scene on Route 112 in Lincoln Thursday morning after a downed utility pole caused a power outage that affected the town and Loon Mountain ski area. Loon closed for the day. 

LINCOLN -- New Hampshire Electric Coop said a new pole had been set in the ground as of noon, and power to its customers in Lincoln should be restored by 1 p.m.
At noon, workers were reattaching and re-energizing wires that fell when a pole snapped early Thursday morning.
Company "engineers are still investigating the cause of the break, but believe that the very cold cold temperatures overnight may have contributed by causing wires attached to the pole to contract, putting extra tension on the pole. The broken pole is located about a quarter-mile east of the entrance to Loon Mountain."
Power to the Loon Mountain ski area as well as some residences in the immediate area was restored this morning at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Previous story follows:

LINCOLN - Half of the town of Lincoln - including Loon Mountain ski area - is without power Thursday morning after cold weather apparently caused a telephone pole near the ski area to snap, according to the New Hampshire Electric Coop.

The Coop website reports that 1,700 of its roughly 3,200 customers in Lincoln are without power.

Meanwhile, the town has opened a warming center, and the police have Ping text alerts and reverse 911 telephone calls in an attempt to locate anyone who may be without power and cold.

But as of 10 a.m., no one had come forward, said police Capt. Jeff Burnham. He said the power outage involved residences to the east of Loon Mountain, most of which are seasonal residences that are often vacant at mid-week.

"We are prepared for bad things to happen, and it hasn't happened yet," Burnham said. The weather website Accuweather reported the late-morning temperature in Lincoln at 2 degrees with a slight wind.

The Coop reported the power outage about 5 a.m. Coop spokesman Seth Wheeler said this morning that crews are replacing the utility pole, and work should be done by mid-afternoon. Power should be restored in phases, with Loon soon getting power because of its proximity to the pole.

The pole is a couple hundred yards east of the main entrance to Loon Mountain on the Kancamaugus Highway.

Wheeler said the pole, which is owned by FairPoint, broke in the area that carries the telephone lines.

"It might be weather related," he said. "There's no obvious reason why this pole would snap."

He said wires tighten in cold weather, and if they are already strung tightly, the wires can put pressure on utility pole. He said the Coop will replace the pole, which was carrying 12 electrical wires, with one of its own.

Line repair crews are working in teams, with teams taking breaks to warm up, he said.

"It's cold, but these guys are used to it," Wheeler said.

The power failure prompted Loon Mountain to close for the day.
"Due to a local power outage, we will reopen tomorrow, Jan. 24," reads a note posted on the Loon Mountain homepage. It says that skiers with tickets for today can use them at Sunday River, a resort in Maine about 75 miles from Lincoln.

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