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Hurricane Sandy aftermath —
Restoring power in the Northeast

Western Area Power Administration sent 61 linemen and two of its three Bell 407 helicopters to help repair storm damage to the electric grid in some of the hardest hit areas of New Jersey.  Visit daily to see and hear about the progress our employees are making in restoring New Jersey.


Nov. 15 update

The remaining Western crews have completed their storm restoration assignments for Jersey Central Power & Light. Western’s vehicles were cleaned, refueled, prepped for travel and staged at Six Flags Great Adventure Park in Jackson, N.J., in preparation for re-deployment home. The remaining crews from Western’s Desert Southwest, Rocky Mountain and Upper Great Plains regions will depart New Jersey and drive home Nov. 16. The Sierra Nevada Region contingent will be airlifted back to California by the United States Air Force as soon as travel arrangements with the Department of Defense are confirmed.

Western trucks staged at Six Flags Great Adventure Park 

Western trucks staged at Six Flags Park in Jackson, N.J., in preparation for driving home.


Crews repairing damaged transmission line

Crews from Western’s Upper Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions repair damaged transmission poles on the New Jersey barrier islands.

See more photos from today at Western's Flickr set.


Nov. 14 update

Western crews are wrapping up their final assignments on the Barrier Islands in New Jersey and will be headed back to their duty stations this week and this weekend.

Today, line crews from Cody, Casper and Cheyenne, Wyo., were released with another 35 expected to depart Thursday and the final 24 to start the trip home Friday.

Only California’s crew and equipment will be airlifted by the U.S. Air Force; the other crews will drive.


Nov. 13 update

Western Area Power Administration and Jersey Central Power & Light signed a mutual aid agreement Nov. 9 that will allow Western crews to continue to restore power to New Jersey through Nov. 16. Under the terms of the agreement, JCP&L will fund the crews’ expenses and transportation home.

Western and Southwestern Power Administration crews are working in First Energy’s New Jersey Central Area. Six Western electricians from Huron and Watertown, S.D., were released this morning from the storm restoration mission and are enroute home. A combined crew from Western’s Rocky Mountain and Desert Southwest regions is performing transmission line repair work on the Cookstown-Manchester-Larabee 230-kilovolt circuit. The remaining Western crews are now working on the New Jersey barrier islands between Seaside Heights and Mantoloking, performing 34.5-kV transmission line repairs. A Southwestern Power Administration crew is assisting with wood pole and material transport.

Over the weekend, Western and Southwestern Administration crews working on residential distribution system repairs completed their assignments.

Patricia Mullin, General Manager of JCP&L Central New Jersey has been very complimentary the past several days regarding the Western and Southwestern Power Administration restoration efforts. She stated, "I am very impressed with the work ethic of all WAPA/SWPA crews. I've personally observed safe, professional linemen who accomplish a lot of work. Your folks have been great to work with and I have communicated to my upper level management team how very pleased I am."

linemen on a latice tower 

Combined Western and Southwestern Power Marketing Administration crews perform live-line work on the Cookstown-Manchester-Larabee 230-kilovolt circuit.

bucket truck replacing conductor 

Crews from Western's Upper Great Plains Region replace damaged poles and conductor on the barrier islands.

bucket truck repairing transmission line in rain

Combined Western crews repair a damaged transmission circuit in heavy rain.

safety meeting

Line foremen listen to the daily morning safety briefing.

See more photos from today on Western's Flickr site.


Nov. 9 update

Western’s two helicopters and pilots are on the way home after completing their work patrolling lines and assessing storm damage to the power system in New Jersey.  Western now has more than 70 employees in New Jersey supporting the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.

Crews from Western Area Power Administration, Bonneville Power Administration and Southwestern Power Administration are receiving high praise from Jersey Central Power & Lightfor their work . Sentiments expressed include things like, “how did you guys get so lucky to have such high performing, safe and professional crews,” and “can we keep your crews, like forever.” It’s not luck; it’s the dedication and skill of our management staff and crews with a can-do attitude mixed with a healthy dose of safety awareness that folks on the Jersey shore are experiencing and commenting on.

Our crews are fully engaged rebuilding the hardest hit areas of New Jersey. This in and of itself is a testament to the trust they have put into our crews in this important work. Among all the compliments, while Jersey Central Power & Light is sending other crews home, they have chosen to keep our crews and fully pay the cost to do so.


Western linemen  wreck out a damaged transmission line 

Western linemen wreck out a damaged transmission line.

See more photos from today on Western's Flickr site.


Nov. 8 update

Some Western and Southwestern Power Administration crews kicked off the morning with a safety meeting and then began work in and around Berkley Township, Seaside Park and Seaside Heights on the barrier islands in New Jersey. SWPA/Western crews are performing line patrols, pole/material staging, and transmission line repair on the main transmission feeder that feeds several substations for the beach area. Safety remains a prime concern in the effort to restore power in difficult conditions. Western’s Western Colorado Maintenance Manager Will Schnyer said, “SWPA has been fantastic to work with. It is interesting to observe mixed crews from both PMA's working well alongside one another. The barrier island work will promote more of the same.”

Other crews continue to repair damage repair on a 7600/13.8 kilovolt circuit for Jersey Central Power & Light in Point Pleasant, N.J. Electricians are currently patrolling lines for Jersey Central Power & Light in the central New Jersey. They will continue to patrol lines tomorrow as the Nov. 7 snow created additional outages in the JCP& L service territory. Electricians will begin their work at substations on the barrier island will take place once the sand and debris from in and around the substations has been removed to allow access.


Downed transmission line 

 Downed transmission line feeds several substations for the beach area.



Western and Southwestern Area Power Administration crews work to restore power on the barrier islands.



High winds toppled transmission lines on the barrier islands.


Nov 7 afternoon update

Even as the predicted nor’easter hit New Jersey bringing dangerous winds, heavy rain, and snow, Western crews remained hard at work repairing damage to transmission and distribution lines.

Some line crews from Western’s Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada regions and Southwestern Power Administration were assigned to Jersey Central Power & Light in Point Pleasant, N.J. repairing various damage on two 7600/13.8-kilovolt circuits.

Two crews from Western’s Upper Great Plains Region were assigned this morning to repair 34.5 kV damage in central New Jersey. The damage to that 34.5 kV system has now been repaired.

Electricians are currently assigned line patrol for Jersey Central in the Central area. They began patrolling at 7 a.m. and have patrol assignments for tomorrow. Substation work assignments are expected to come.

The remainder of WAPA and SWPA forces are currently in the process of being redeployed and will start staging equipment in Toms River, N.J., where they will begin working to repair damage on the barrier islands as soon as access to the area is allowed. Earlier Nov. 7, the state of New Jersey enforced mandatory evacuation for island residents until this latest storm passes.

 Western linemen climb in snowstorm to restore power

 Western linemen work through the snow to restore power.


 Lineman carries supplies to restore power in storm

 Rocky Mountain Lineman Bill Weber carries supplies to restore power through the snow.


 Crew in snow discusses plan to restore power

 Crews work to repair damage to distribution lines.

See more photos from today on Western's Flickr site.


Nov 7 update

Western crews are now hard at work repairing damage to transmission and distribution lines in New Jersey.

Early Nov. 7, Sierra Nevada Lineman Ryan Wheeler reported, "The crew today is awaiting their next job this morning. Things have been good, but it's taking a while for everyone to get on the same page. There are so many people here and equipment is everywhere, but things are coming together. It's getting more organized."

At about 2:30 p.m. EST, Rocky Mountain Maintenance Manager Kevin Howard provided this update, “Next storm hit New Jersey about 2-3 hours ago. It's raining hard and expected to move to snow. Crews have been working on a 12.47-kilovolt local distribution line today, but will potentially stand down if the storm is too rough.

“Tomorrow, they have a new assignment to work on the Beach Haven West barrier island, which received considerably more damage from Hurricane Sandy than other areas they've been working.

“After the storms clear out, the crews will work with the helicopters to patrol the lines there to find where they are needed most.”

Downed distribution line in New Jersey 

High winds from Hurricane Sandy caused damage to distribution lines throughout New Jersey.


Sierra Nevada linemen review circuit drawings in early morning 

Sierra Nevada linemen Dean Faller (on the phone with Jersey Central Power & Light dispatch) with Joel Carrillo (left) and Ryan Mumma review circuit drawings Nov. 6 in preparation for pole replacement work in the morning.


Bucket truck loading on C-5 Galaxys 


On Nov. 2, Western's California line crews hitched a ride from Travis Air Force Base's C-5 Galaxys to McGuire AFB in New Jersey. Thanks to the Air Force, equipment, including this 55-foot bucket truck, and linemen were able to travel quickly to the places most damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

See more photos from today on Western's Flickr site.


Nov. 6 update

Western crews and equipment continue to arrive in New Jersey to assist Jersey Central Power & Light repair damage to their transmission system. By Monday evening, 54 Western crew members and their equipment had reported to Monmouth Race Track for assignment. The remaining employees are expected to report today. See the complete list of Western resources assigned to storm restoration in New Jersey.

One of Western’s two helicopters will continue to patrol two lines in northern New Jersey that keep going out intermittently. Both helicopters are expected to remain in New Jersey in case there is additional damage and related outages from the nor’easter expected to hit the area Wednesday.

Following a safety meeting for all the crews this morning, some crews began repairing broken transmission cross-arms and poles, while several crews were transporting and spotting poles at locations where distribution poles are damaged, and other crews were performing line patrols to better assess the damage created by Hurricane Sandy.

Will Schnyer, Western Colorado Maintenance Office Maintenance Manager, described the situation in New Jersey, “As of yesterday FEMA has constructed a tent city across the street from the Monmouth Race Track. The tent city consists of a cafeteria tent, shower tent and several sleeping tents that will be used to house the various utility crews working here.

“Electric power restoration has been slow but is now gaining momentum. National Guard Units and local police provide a continual presence. All Western Area Power Administration and Southwestern Power Administration employees assisting with storm restoration have been doing an excellent job performing their duties. Our administrative support has been superb as well. The local's are thankful for the assistance we have helped to provide.”

Western crews begin the day with a safety meeting 

Western crews begin the day with a safety meeting.

See more photos from today on Western's Flickr site.


Nov. 5 update

Western linemen and equipment continue to arrive in Hoboken, N.J., where they will help the local utility Jersey Central Power & Light assess and repair the damage to their transmission system from Hurricane Sandy. Some crews have already arrived and will find out today exactly where they will be working.

“It's been a busy couple of days here in New Jersey,” said Will Schnyer of the Western Colorado Maintenance Office in Montrose, Colo. “On Nov. 5, Western and Southwestern Power Administration crews will drive to Monmouth Race Track in Oceanport, N.J. We will be working transmission storm restoration for Jersey Central (First Energy). Everyone is in good spirits and is looking forward to arriving in New Jersey and assisting with power restoration.”

Crews departed from their work stations starting Nov. 1 and through the weekend. A five-person crew from Cody, Wyo., departed Nov. 2 with their equipment: four line trucks, a 24-ton crane and digger derick, a Bobcat and an Altec 100-foot aerial manlift.

 Western truck is inspected for trip to New Jersey

Lineman Joshua Bailey completes a pre-trip inspection on a 100-foot Altec aerial manlift the morning of Nov. 2, before he and four crewmates depart for New Jersey to help restore power after Hurricane Sandy.

See more photos on Western's
Flickr site

Lineman interviewed at Travis Air Force Base

Out of Sierra Nevada, a crew and their equipment took a lift on cargo planes from Travis Air Force Base to New Jersey over the weekend. Foreman III Brian Adams from Folsom, Calif., took time to speak with Air Force Staff Sergeant John Ayre.  

Finally, Western’s two Bell 307 helicopters, which arrived in New Jersey over the weekend, continue their aerial patrols with the local utility to survey damage.

“The helicopters are performing well and we’re doing fine,” said Aviation Manager Bruce Hunt who is one of the two pilots there. “We’re patrolling the 34.5-kilovolt line in northern New Jersey and are finding significant damage. The local electricians are very familiar with the system and are doing a great job of finding and reporting both damage and problems with trees either on or dangerously close to the lines.”

“Folks along the way have expressed their gratitude for the assistance,” said Schnyer.

See Nov. 2 press release for more details about deployed Western crews.