Idaho Power Crews Arrive Safely In New York, Begin Damage Assessment
BROOKHAVEN, N.Y., (KMVT-TV) – After a cross-country trip totaling more than 2,500 miles, Idaho Power crews have safely arrived on Long Island and on Thursday began assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
“The drive out was long, but without incident,” said Regional Operations Manager Bo Hanchey, the leader of the two six-man crews assisting Long Island Power Authority. “That said, the crews were ready to leave the trucks and get to work.”
Crews will be stationed at Brightwaters Substation near the town of Brookhaven. On Thursday, Hanchey received crew assignments, and was briefed on the storm damage and ongoing restoration efforts. The current expectation is that crews will be housed in trailers and tents provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Hanchey said the area around Brookhaven was one of the hardest hit. “The damage is much worse than I expected,” he said. “There are so many downed trees that it’s hard to even see the full extent.” Beyond the hurricane damage, Hanchey said crews are battling cold temperatures, high winds and 6-8 inches of snow from Wednesday night’s storm. “It’s a real mess,” he said.
Idaho Power offered assistance to East Coast utilities last week, and on Friday, Nov. 2, LIPA accepted. After two days of preparation, two crews and 10 vehicles set off Monday morning for Long Island.
“Employees from across the company volunteered to make the trip,” said Vern Porter, Idaho Power’s vice president of delivery engineering and construction. “But LIPA specifically asked for Journeyman-level linemen with strong distribution-line experience, and that’s who we sent. We offer our thanks to them as well the crews who stayed behind to take care of our customers.”
Idaho Power crews weren’t the only ones to make the trip east; according to Hanchey, they’ll work alongside more than 14,000 workers from 45 states and Canada to replace broken poles, run new power lines, and remove downed trees. “We’ll be doing a combination of just about everything,” he said.