A Connexus Energy crew will be busy repairing storm damaged this week – in Connecticut.
The Ramsey-based cooperative sent a 12-member crew to the East Coast to help repair the damage Hurricane Sandy caused to the electrical lines and help restore power to approximately 270,000 homes and businesses.
Some crew members had plans for the deer opener but they were willing to drive out to Connecticut to help Northeast Utilities, said Samantha Neral, Connexus Energy communications and community relations spokesperson.
According to its website, Northeast Utilities and its companies serve more than 3.5 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The crew left Minnesota Friday, Nov. 2 and drove all night, arriving in Milford, Conn., on Saturday.
The crew and its convoy of five bucket trucks and an aerial lift repair truck received “thumbs up” during their journey from storm victims in New York and Connecticut, Neral said on the company’s Facebook page.
The crew, which includes 10 line workers, a mechanic and a coordinator, started working Greenwich, Conn., which was hit hard by flooding and fallen trees like the rest of the state, on Sunday.
The Connexus Energy crew joins 3,000 individual utility workers from 16 states and four Canadian Provinces working to restore power to the area, said Mitch Gross, a Connecticut Light and Power (CLP) spokesman.
CLP is a Northeast Utilities company.
The workers are trying to restore power to the majority of the 2,400 Connecticut Light and Power (CLP) customers today (Nov. 5) and tomorrow (Nov. 6), Gross said.
Approximately 21 percent of the customers in Lower Fairfield County area, which includes Greenwich, are still without power, he said.
Among the challenges facing the crews is the large number of downed trees and broken utility poles, according to Gross.
“Connecticut is known for its heavy tree canopy,” he said
CLP has approximately 1,600 tree trimmers working on the trees felled by the storm as well as cutting additional trees to lessen the potential damage of the incoming Nor’easter, a storm that usually includes heavy amounts of rain and snow and produces hurricane-force winds, expected to hit the area around Nov. 7, Gross said.
With hundreds of broken utility poles and downed lines, the crews are having to rebuild, he said.
Connexus Energy has a history of helping other utilities with storm damage repair.
In 2009, the company sent a crew to Kentucky to help repair ice storm damage, Neral said.
This year, a Connexus Energy crew helped in northern Minnesota.
While it is rare for the crews to be called to help in other areas of the state or country, they go when asked, Neral said.
The Connexus crew is expected to be working along the East Coast for two weeks.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org