community especially vulnerable to storms approaching from
the south or east.
To help ConEdison, E-J Electric Installation Co., Long
Island City, N.Y., kept crews on standby for its own state’s
Orange and Rockland counties for about 10 hours, but the
comparatively light snowfall and reduced winds led to them
E-J Electric also sent 12 crews to Rhode Island, where they
spent the next three days repairing downed or damaged poles
and conductors and restoring residential services. When the
crew was on-site Monday evening, only 16 customers were out
of power and the storm was still rolling in, according to Joseph
Rubino, E-J Electric’s general manager of the Transmission
and Distribution division. Power outages in the tens of thousands cropped up through the night. By Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 4
p.m., most of those power connections were restored.
E-J Electric has a storm-preparedness protocol in place and
a staff member dedicated to predicting storm repair needs and
mobilizing crews, tools, equipment and trucks, Rubino said. In
this way, E-J Electric can ensure it is as pre-emptive as the utilities need it to be. Historically, contractors waited to hear from
utility companies after the storm had passed, and they often
didn’t get requests out until they assessed the scope of the damage. Today, ECs and utilities are much more proactive.
E-J Electric reaches out to utilities in affected areas once they
identify potentially damaging storm patterns, and the contractor offers services based on crew availability. Utilities then will
request them for staging or put them on standby.
Marcus McPhee of McPhee Electric Ltd. LLC, Farmington,
Conn., sent many line crews to storm-damaged areas, only to end
up waiting in a staging area. In fact, he said, the company has seen
a quiet year with nothing more than such staging events, in part
thanks to Mother Nature, but also due to diligence by utilities
and contractors. Of course, one large storm could end that trend.
“There’s been more and more preparation work done by
utilities,” he said, adding that this includes barricades around
substations; preventive maintenance, such as tree limbing; and
other protective efforts.
E.S. Boulos Co., of Westbrook, Maine, made its way south to
Hyannis, Mass., with six two-man crews. It brought five bucket
trucks and a digger derrick. Once at the site, Massachusetts
utility company NStar needed contracted crews, as well as its
Within a week, power was restored to nearly
every business and residence, and electrical
contractors that traveled as many as a thousand miles
had returned to their homes and workplaces.