Vandals shoot out power lines in the NEK - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vandals shoot out power lines in the NEK

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An act of vandalism in the Northeast Kingdom -- and it knocked out enough power to feed the entire state.

Police are investigating damage to a massive transmission line and homeland security and the department of energy are also involved.

Vermont Electric Coop. officials say they believe someone used a shotgun to take out the lines in Concord.

VELCO says damage totals at least 250,000 dollars, they also say that cost will likely be passed on to ratepayers. Whoever did this, is now the subject of a federal investigation.

"These types of attacks, these acts of damage, vandalism, terrorism even, you will have to be run down and they have to be investigated as if they are acts of terrorism until we know otherwise," said Kerrick Johnson with VELCO.

Kerrick Johnson says the damage could not have been by accident. Vandals damaged part of a transmission line known as a disc. The discs insulate the power lines so they're safe to operate. 106 of the 425 discs were destroyed. Those lines can hold up to 10% of New England's power at any given time, shutting them down means other generators in the area will have to kick in, at a time when much of New England is leaning on secure power in places like Vermont after Superstorm Sandy.

"The New York grid is in a weakened state as well, so the impacts and the weakening of our grid when you have related interconnected regional grids that are also in a weakened state, we're not sure where all the consequences might end up," explained Johnson.

The plan is to have this line back up and running by Monday, police say they have no suspects at this time.

As of now police do not believe the incident is connected to a recent shooting of a substation in Barton.

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