Giving Thanks

Jim Valentine
Construction & Operations Manager
Thu, Nov 15, 2012
Category: Superstorm Sandy

What a nice surprise when we arrived at Lindbergh Field (they call it San Diego International Airport now, but it will always be Lindbergh Field to me) Tuesday night to a throng of media welcoming us home as we rode down the escalator to baggage claim.

I am sure the others in the airport wondered who we were and why we required such attention. As I told some of the news reporters last night, we were just normal, every-day people helping other people.  I am sure others would have done the same if they’d been able to help.

For us, we were just thankful that we had the opportunity to contribute our skills to help people get back to their normal lives.  When we arrived in New York, there were more than 250,000 of Orange & Rockland Utilities’ 300,000 customers without power.  When we left, less than 2,000 customers still needed restoration.  While we didn’t restore every one of those customers, we are really proud of the work we did.

As Thanksgiving nears, I am thankful for this opportunity and that we all came home safely. I’m also thankful for the support of everyone here at home -- it was a huge boost during those long days and nights away.

Have a wonderful holiday with your family.

Jim

It’s a Beautiful Day

Chris Simmons
Working Foreman, Electric Operations
Mon, Nov 12, 2012
Category: Superstorm Sandy

It’s 6 a.m. Saturday morning and the sun is out.  It’s a beautiful day and I’m excited that it will warm up to the low 50s, much warmer than it has been.  

Last night we were told Orange and Rockland were releasing us and that we are moving south to work for Con Edison.  A slow parade of SDG&E vehicles leave the Ramada parking lot.  Our truck has one of those navigation systems that not only displays directions, but says them, too.  We have been listening to same lady telling us what to do for seven days now: "Turn left on Route 87 for the next 11.2 miles… In 0.3 miles turn right on Chestnut  Street..." It’s a good thing she doesn’t tell us how to do it! (smile) 

It’s about an hour and a half drive to Yonkers Raceway which will serve as our operations base.  The first thing we see is a couple hundred line trucks that checker the parking lot.  It’s cool looking at other line trucks. We talk. We talk with lineman who used to work for SDG&E.  Lineman talking line work.  

We meet with our new liaison, their safety coordinator and a New York State OSHA representative.  Each has a brief discussion, the common thread, safety.  We roll out of their yard with three small jobs.  The jobs go well. Our liaison has worked for Con Edison for 40 years. He is soft spoken and has a very wide knowledge base.  

We replace, repair and change out service wire.  We disconnect generators, remove tree limbs and answer questions.  

Customers are ever so grateful.  We are told late in the afternoon we retained our original hotel.  The ride back seems shorter. Five different languages are found on the radio.  Yep, we must be close to New York City...  

Thanks for reading,  

Chris

Winding Down

Jim Valentine
Construction & Operations Manager
Sun, Nov 11, 2012
Category: Superstorm Sandy

As you read yesterday, our crews were reassigned to Yonkers, New York.  We were staged at Yonkers Raceway along with another 600 linemen from as far away as British Columbia, Canada.  Before we loaded material for the day we received an excellent safety tailgate from Con Edison and a huge thank you from OSHA.

Con Ed crew guides, aka “Bird Dogs,” Mike and Danny introduced themselves and each took three crews north of Yonkers to the Rye Reservoir area of Westchester, County.  Collectively crews restored service to more than 30 customers before heading back to the hotel at 8 p.m.

Crews will continue to do miscellaneous service work today -- and be sure to get the Chargers vs Tampa Bay score -- as things begin to wind down. 

If there are no changes, we expect to be released by Con Edison at the end of today and prepare to return home.  Our support team is working hard to arrange shipping, vehicle transportation and air fare for employees.  It is very likely we will be on a return flight to San Diego by Tuesday afternoon.

Until next time,

Jim