By VIRGINIA DiBIANCA
Overwhelmed by the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy, utility companies from as far west as Missouri have been dispatched to help restore order to the thousands in New Jersey left without power.
As early as Saturday, Oct. 27 linemen in northwest states were alerted to the possibility that depending on the amount of disrupted service, they may be called upon to travel to New Jersey to help local utilities in the recovery effort. By Thursday, a crew of linemen which included managers were on their way.Anthony Zakrizewski is a manager at the St. Louis Power and Light. Although he has not climbed a pole in almost eight years, it was all hands on deck as all and any experienced utility workers were asked to help out. Initial estimates of how long they would be in New Jersey were for at least two weeks.
Local malls such as Garden State Plaza and the Riverside Mall in Hackensack were set up as command centers to accommodate the out of towners. From there, reps from local utility companies dispatched them to areas where help is needed.
“We have seen tornadoes that have devastated areas in the midwest, however here it is more widespread,” said Zakrizewski. “Then there are traffic issues and gas problems. People have been very friendly and welcoming and we are working as fast as we can”.
Estimates on when recovery will be completed is not conclusive, but with trucks from Texas, Tennessee and Ohio on the scene, the hope is that it should be within another week or before the nor’easter creates more problems.