Heard from lineman today in Long Island. Apparently the utility has brought in 3500 linemen to restore power to the remaining 80,000 or so still without power in that particular area. The number of linemen for that small amount of outages is astounding. Nevada has about 700 linemen in total for the entire state to take care of the grid - so that number is almost equal to the total number of linemen from about 5 states.
Why the hoopla for Long Island? There were several hundred people without power for over 2 weeks in NW ND last spring when the temps were about 20 degrees during the day, but no one seemed worried enough to send/request additional crews to help those North Dakotans in need at that time. Is it because the people on Long Island are more important than those in ND? Or do they just have louder voices?
The questions swirling around the utilities' efficiency is pretty ridiculous when you realize that over 8 million people who lost power during Irene have had it restored in less than a week. Most people in Texas during the aftermath of Ike went around 3 weeks without power, but there was no investigations forthcoming to find out the whys of the situation. Why is that now that the Northeast has been hit that the speed with which power is being restored is being questioned?
My lineman has been told by his superiors that he isn't to talk to customers while he's working the job, and to keep an eye out for the media - apparently they have been sending reporters in to photograph the situation. Unfortunately, part of the issue stems from the fact that the linemen drive 13' high trucks and many of the "parkways" in the affected areas only allow for a 8' clearance. This means the equipment can't get through and the linemen have to be creative when figuring how to bring in new poles. This on top of the fact that they must hand dig all the holes for the replacement poles - something that obviously adds additional time to power restoration.
If there is an investigation that needs to be done, perhaps it should be on the Long Island regulations that allow for 8' clearance on roads and the rules mandating hand-dug holes, not to mention the fact that it took, for one particular job, no less than 4 different people to sign off before the work could even begin. The linemen are there. They are trying to get the power restored. The bureaucracy needs to step back and let the guys do their work.