NorthWestern Energy workers helping NY neighborhoodsABERDEEN — Eight South Dakota employees from NorthWestern Energy are working to restore electricity to storm-ravaged neighborhoods in New York.
By: Jeff Natalie-Lees, Aberdeen American News
ABERDEEN — Eight South Dakota employees from NorthWestern Energy are working to restore electricity to storm-ravaged neighborhoods in New York.
The employees — five linemen, a hydraulic operator, a foreman and supervisor — traveled to the East Coast one week ago to join about 4,000 electrical workers in a massive effort to restore power to homes affected by Hurricane Sandy, said Tom Glanzer, NorthWestern Energy spokesman.
The employees are from Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell and Yankton.
They have been working to repair electrical poles and lines in Long Island. Many of residents have been completely without power since the super storm struck Oct. 29.
NorthWestern Energy also sent nine contract crews in Montana to join the electrical restoration efforts.
“There have been tons of emotion out there,” said Glanzer. “The customers get- ting their power back have been very grateful. Our workers have been getting a lot of hugs, high-fives and thumbs-ups.”
When the residents find out the NorthWestern Energy employees are from South Dakota they really thank them for their efforts, he said.
The workers have been putting in long days and have slept at night on air mattresses at a generation plant, Glanzer said.
The first night they arrived they slept in a Federal Emergency Management Administration tent, which blew down the following night, he said.
The crew was making excellent progress in restoring power, but had a setback when a nor’easter struck the area with rain and wet snow on Wednesday. The storm brought down more tree limbs and electrical wires in New York and New Jersey.
Calmer weather forecasted for the next week should speed restoration efforts.
The NorthWestern employees are expected to return to South Dakota on Nov. 17, Glanzer said.
“Our linemen are accustomed to working in difficult conditions,” he said. “It is very much the same work we do here in South Dakota.”
The NorthWestern crew is assisted by a representative from a local utility to identify lines that need to be fixed first.
“There are a lot linemen out there,” Glanzer said. “There is a lot of heroes doing some incredible work out there.”