UPDATED: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 --- 10:30 p.m.
Local electrical crews are arriving on the East Coast to help restore power in Sandy's wake.
On Tuesday, about 30 Alliant Energy workers from the Madison area entered Kingston, N.Y. Since Sunday they've been driving up all of their own vehicles and gear, seeing the destruction along the way.
"Many of the communities we went through, we weren't able to get fuel or food for the crews," said Project Manager Steve Dilley.
Dilley says his crews sometimes respond to disasters in other areas around the Midwest, but this is the first time he's ever had to respond to a hurricane. He's found the conditions near the Catskill Mountains quite different from home.
"The terrain is a lot more severe than what we're used to dealing with in Iowa or Wisconsin, and then the other issue that we're notified of today would have been the black bears. There's black bears in the area that have a tendency to climb our utility poles so that's a situation we'll have to keep an eye out for."
Alliant Energy says Dilley's crew of about 100 people, including workers from Minnesota and Iowa, is assisting with more than 900 damaged sites around Kingston. Dilley says when they complete that work, it's possible they might get moved to other locations nearby as floodwater recedes.
Local Hooper Corporation crews have also arrived in New York. They are busy restoring power outages due to downed trees in the Adirondack Mountains.
UPDATED Monday, October 29, 2012 --- 2:45 p.m.
MADISON, Wis. — Oct. 29, 2012 — Alliant Energy has sent more than 100 employees to help people on the East Coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Crews left Iowa and Wisconsin on Sunday morning and are headed to Lake Katrine, NY. This effort is in response to a mutual assistance call from all East Coast utilities, and Alliant Energy will be initially helping customers of Central Hudson Gas and Electric. This represents Alliant Energy’s largest mutual aid response ever.
Of the approximately 110 employees, about 80 are from Interstate Power and Light Company’s service territory in Iowa and about 30 are from Wisconsin Power and Light Company. Alliant Energy also released many of its line construction and tree-trimming contractors, allowing them to travel to the East Coast and aid in the restoration efforts.
“We understand the effects severe weather can have on a community, that’s why we are sending help to the East Coast. In part, we are paying back the industry for the help we received during the 2007 ice storm and the 2008 floods,” said Vern Gebhart, Vice President, Energy Delivery.
East Coast utilities have requested several thousand line mechanics and tree clearance crews from across the country. Alliant Energy crews from 19 communities in Iowa and eight communities in Wisconsin are responding to the expected damage. Crews packed for a trip that could last as long as two weeks, depending on the severity of the damage.
“While we don’t get hurricanes in the Midwest, we do see damage from tornadoes and from flooding, so our crews are well versed in restoring electricity safely and quickly in the face of disaster,” said Gebhart.
Alliant Energy crews are staging in Scranton, PA on Monday night, allowing them to stay out of the worst of the storm and be able to respond swiftly once the storm weakens.
Alliant Energy will continue to provide updates about its crews and the storm through Facebook at AlliantEnergySpokesperson, and on Twitter at AESpokesperson. You can show support for Alliant Energy crews on Twitter by using the Twitter hashtag #AESandy.
Posted Monday, October 29, 2012 --- 12:15 p.m.
Alliant Energy is sending more than 100 employees to the East Coast as Sandy approaches shore.
Here is the release from Alliant Energy:
Alliant Energy is dispatching 110 employees from Wisconsin and Iowa to assist with anticipated power restoration efforts as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
Our crews departed over the weekend and will be staying in Pennsylvania tonight as the storm comes ashore and will be ready to assist immediately after the storm passes through.
Alliant Energy crews from 19 Iowa communities and eight Wisconsin communities are responding to the expected damage.
Alliant Energy is proud to pay back the utility industry for the help we received from other utilities during the 2007 ice storm and the 2008 flooding, and to help our colleagues serve their customers during this unique situation.
MG&E is also sending six employees, along with a supervisor, to the East Coast.