Utility crews return from Sandy recovery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Utility crews return from Sandy recovery

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Jay Smith of Georgia Power was part of a group of workers from the utility that went to the Northeast. Jay Smith of Georgia Power was part of a group of workers from the utility that went to the Northeast.
Electric lines in Albany.  Lines along the New Jersey coast as made of a different substance that resists rusting but makes them more vulnerable to being pulled down. Electric lines in Albany. Lines along the New Jersey coast as made of a different substance that resists rusting but makes them more vulnerable to being pulled down.
Thousands of power lines were pulled down by Sandy's winds and by trees that fell on them. Thousands of power lines were pulled down by Sandy's winds and by trees that fell on them.
Georgia Power was one of several Georgia based utilities that responded to Sandy. Georgia Power was one of several Georgia based utilities that responded to Sandy.

Superstorm Sandy caused a lot of problems in the Northeast, and one of the biggest was the loss of power.

Until it's gone, people don't realize how much they depend on the tangles of wires over their heads.  For the people who were on the scene, the destruction was unbelievable.

Jay Smith, an Area manager for Georgia Power said, "the areas right along the coast were the greatest impacted."

It became clear very quickly, that Sandy was not just an ordinary storm.

With power out to tens of thousands of people in the Northeast, local utilities were overwhelmed.

So they had to turn for help to restore the electricity, help that came from utilities like Georgia Power.

Like most utilities, Georgia Power has a plan to respond to these types of disasters, formulated before a storm hits.

Smith was part of the Georgia Power response.  He said, "the week before that, we were watching the weather and putting together storm teams, our corporate office in Atlanta."

By the 29th, Georgia Power crews were on their way to the northeast.  Smith's group left a few days later and eventually wound up in several different places.

"We worked in Maryland, New York and New Jersey," he said.

And they had plenty of company.

Smith said, "we saw utilities from California in New York.  So people were brought in from everywhere."

But even the best laid plans can run into difficulty, and the crews did have some issues.  Some of these were man-made.

Smith said, "because of the tight space up there with the trees and all that I'm talking about, they use a more compact construction."

Then there was another obstacle.  Only a few days after Sandy, a snow storm dumped a foot of heavy, wet snow in some places hampering the recovery effort.

One thing that didn't hamper their efforts were the victims of the storm.  The people in the affected area were grateful for the help.

"They're very happy to see anybody come and help them," said Smith.

While the Northeast still has a long way to go to recover from Sandy, the hundreds of line workers from around the nation who flocked to the scene of the disaster will help turn the power grid back on.

A small step to getting people's live back to normal.

Other Georgia utilities also responded to Sandy, including several South Georgia electric cooperatives.  Go to another part of this site to see a slide show of pictures that Albany Water, Gas and Light worker Jimmy Norman took in Ocean Port, New Jersey.

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