US & World

Power companies nationwide lending many helping hands to region hit by Hurricane Sandy

A truck from a Georgia utility stands by to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
A truck from a Georgia utility stands by to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Kitty Felde

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One of the biggest challenges of Hurricane Sandy is keeping the lights on. Widespread power outages are predicted for much of the mid-Atlantic region. Some areas have already lost electricity.

Power companies from all over the country are sending in reinforcements. Jeremy Henderson from Decatur, Alabama was sent on the road long before the rain started falling. He says he left Saturday morning at 7 o’clock and was told he was coming to Maryland.

Henderson’s worked on similar post-storm jobs before, in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. But he says this is the "furthest we’ve ever gone." He and a large crew of fellow workers are sheltering at a local hotel until the worst of the storm passes.

He says the greatest danger to utility workers isn’t downed power lines: it’s home generators. Henderson says people "won’t run a transfer switch and backfeed the power lines." When that happens, he says: "It kills us." 

There are nearly a dozen bucket trucks and other utility vehicles from Georgia and Alabama parked in a deserted shopping mall in the small Eastern Shore town of Chestertown, waiting for the wind to die down before heading out to restore power.

Southen California Edison has dispatched a dozen utiity crews to the East Coast to help out. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power might send some of its crews to help.