BERLIN – Eversource linemen, tree crews and support personnel are on their way to Louisiana to assist in recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
“These crews will drive 1,048 miles through the night until they get to their destination,” Eversource President and CEO Joe Nolan said during a press conference at the company’s Berlin headquarters Monday morning.
Eversource deployed a total of 159 line crews, 20 tree crews and 30 support personnel hailing from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Ida hit the bayou hard on Sunday, the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Southern power giant Entergy reported over one million customers out of power on Monday.
“This is a compete wipe out of the system. This is not going to be a repair, it’s a complete rebuild down there,” Nolan said. “These forces here that are going out are veterans of recovery efforts. I’m very, very proud of this group and the rest of our 9,300 employees.”
He was joined by Major General Francis Evon, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard, which is deploying members and heavy aircraft to assist in rescue efforts.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are impacted by Hurricane Ida,” Evon said.
CT Guardsmen and women underwent pre-deployment training last week and have been keeping in close contact with the U.S. National Guard in regards to the situation.
“We’ve got heavy aircraft ready to deploy,” Evon said. “Once the storm rolls through they’ll get the green light and the governor’s approval to move out, get into the fight and start helping to save lives of people down there.”
The guard’s primary mission will be the transportation of assets, evacuation, and commodity distribution.
As crews departed from Eversource Monday, the governor gave them a thumbs up, yelling “Go! Go!”
“We dodged a bullet last week with Henri thanks to the grace of God and some really good preparations by Eversource,” he said. “Now here we go again. A bunch of guys who have been working around the clock here in Connecticut for well over a week are on their way for a 24-hour drive around the clock down to New Orleans. It’s part of mutual aid … all our states working together as we get hit by these weather events, which used to be hundred-year storms that are coming with increasing frequency.”
Rebuild efforts are expected to take about a month.
“We’ll be there as long as they need us to be there,” Nolan said, adding “the most important thing is these crews get home to their families safely.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.