Seattle City Light crews and trucks arrived in Long Island today to assist the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in its recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
Seattle City Light sent 14 employees — two five-person line crews, two engineers, a supervisor and a safety adviser — along with two large bucket trucks and two digger derrick trucks that dig holes for setting utility poles. The crews are trained in construction methods for both transmission and distribution work. City Light anticipates that its crews will be in New York for two weeks.
The crews and equipment traveled to New York on two military transport planes from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Saturday. You can watch a short video of their departure here.
Crews were processed in by LIPA Sunday and then assigned to rest following their long travel. They are scheduled to start repair assignments Monday.
LIPA started reaching out to utilities across the country, including City Light, for assistance last Monday. On Tuesday, LIPA indicated that it needed crews that could bring equipment with them. City Light agreed to help and started working with the military to arrange transportation for its crews and four trucks. Transportation scheduling was arranged Thursday evening and City Light crews and trucks started traveling to Joint Base Lewis-McChord Friday night.
One digger derrick truck and some of the employees flew out on a C-17 transport plane. The rest of the City Light crews and equipment were sent on a C-5 transport plane.
It is rare that a military transport would be used to carry utility equipment for this type of recovery work. City Light is very grateful for the help from Gov. Gregoire’s office and for the Obama Administration to make this military deployment possible.
Like City Light, LIPA is a non-profit, municipally owned utility. At the height of the storm, nearly 950,000 LIPA customers lost power. On Sunday, about 370,000 remained out of service.
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.