Idaho Power crews and equipment will head out Monday to New York to help Long Island Power Authority restore power to customers affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The cross-country trip will take them more than 2,500 miles to the town of Old Bethpage, New York, where theyll await deployment to the areas hardest hit by the storm.
Crews spent most of Saturday gathering gear and loading equipment. Because airlift was not an option, the crews will drive to New York, with a planned arrival Wednesday evening. In all, two six-man crews will take part in the effort. Theyll be backed by two line-bed trucks for digging holes and replacing poles, four bucket trucks for lifting workers to high-up places, and four pickups to haul additional materials as needed. Its expected the crews will need two to three weeks to complete the work.
Idaho Power officials reached out to East Coast utilities last week to offer assistance with restoration efforts. The offer was equal parts goodwill and industry protocol; the Mutual Assistance Program (developed by the Edison Electric Institute) lets utilities in need augment their workforce by leveraging crews and equipment from other utilities.
While talks of East Coast aid have been ongoing since last Monday, Idaho Power officials only received word their crews were needed late Friday afternoon, and the entire effort has come together in just a days time. Teams from the legal department, fleet services, mechanics, travel coordinators, warehouse workers and more have come together to ensure the effort goes off as planned. Despite the efforts of many Idaho Power personnel, the company will maintain more than adequate resources should an event occur in its Idaho and Oregon service area.
Well continue to respond to our own customers needs, said Matt Smith, Idaho Powers manager of delivery construction, and coordinator of the aid effort. But we want to be good neighbors and lend a helping hand where its needed. Our crews are eager to step up and help folks, and we take great pride in our ability to go and help out