With some 8 million people along the East Coast still without power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday passed an emergency motion allowing the L.A. Department of Water and Power to send crews to help with utility restoration. Southern California Edison was already planning on sending crews to help with recovery.
The motion by City Councilman Tom LaBonge authorizes the LADWP to make available workers with overhead and underground utility expertise who can help restore electricity and provide damage assessment.
“Our neighbors to the east are experiencing a horrific natural disaster, and power is the key to get people back in their homes and their lives right,” LaBonge said.
LaBonge said he expected the federal government to reimburse the city for any costs incurred by sending the city’s utility workers.
LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols supported the motion.
“There’s a history of mutual assistance between utilities, and we’re looking at the prospect of making available our help,” Nichols said.
A fleet of more than 70 Southern California Edison utility trucks is being prepared for transport to the East Coast. Edison spokesman David Song says the crews were going to drive the trucks cross-country, but with the urgent need for assistance, the U.S. Air Force will instead use six C–5 and eight C–17 aircraft to transport the vehicles from March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley.
Song says the vehicles are being prepared for transport and are being moved from Edison’s service center in Menifee to the base, where they will be loaded overnight into the transport aircraft, with departure tentatively set for 7 or 8 a.m. Thursday.
About 120 Edison personnel will fly separately to the East Coast, Song says.
Southern California Edison’s Ed Antillion spoke with Patch about the undertaking: