Wapa news release

CONTACT: Randy Wilkerson, 720-962-7050, CORPCOMM@wapa.gov


Western's Bell 407 helicopter is primarily used for line patrol at roughly 100 to 200 feet above ground level.


LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Western Area Power Administration is sending 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.

Along with its sister power marketing administrations Southwestern and Bonneville, Western has responded to calls for assistance from the Department of Energy to get the Northeast powered as quickly as possible.

“Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastating storm,” said Anita Decker, Western Acting Administrator.  “The President has directed the Department of Energy, Western and the other power marketing administrations to work with the Northeast Utilities and do all we can to accelerate power restoration to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Western is proud to be part of this effort to help restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

The linemen are being airlifted from nearby Air Force bases across Western’s 15-state territory. The two pilots and their helicopters, based in Loveland, Colo. and Phoenix, Ariz., left today to help FirstEnergy, one of New Jersey’s largest power suppliers, with damage assessment in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  The helicopters will fly over power lines and rapidly assess damage across a large area.  The pilots expect to spend two to three days in New Jersey.

“Helicopters are ideal for aerial patrol because of their versatility.  They are able to reach areas inaccessible to ground vehicles, and their ability to hover allows us to get a clear, detailed picture of the damage,” said Mike Cowan, Western Technical Services Manager.