BERLIN – Eversource Energy welcomed home local service men Thursday after they spent two weeks in Louisiana to help restore power following Hurricane Ida.
Crews returned to Eversource headquarters in Berlin. The company sent more than 100 support staff from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as part of the mutual assistance network. The partnership is a collaboration of electrical companies from across the nation that help communities restore during emergencies.
Director of Electric Field Operations Chris Menard said 112 men from the area joined a team from surrounding states to help Louisiana residents. Crews left on August 30 to assist Entergy, Louisiana’s largest power company to assist residents affected by the storm.
“The greatest thing about it, besides the camaraderie and teamwork that was built between the three states, was the people of Louisiana – incredible,” Menard said.
The team visited Raceland, Louisiana to help residents who were without electrical power for two weeks. The group consisted of line and garage mechanics, logistics and communications teams. Menard said their crew was one of the first to arrive in the area. The first stop was Oschner Hospital, but crews also visited a sugar plant, an oil refinery and a water treatment facility.
Tom Heath, field supervisor, said they worked closely with the local utility crew and were able to establish a partnership. He said the residents he encountered were grateful and they welcomed crew to their homes and provided them with food and company.
“They hadn’t had power for like two weeks at this point,” Heath said. “They’re not bitter; they are not yelling at you; they’re just happy. Some of the best people I think I’ve met.”
Menard said they stayed in trailers established in camps on acres of land. More than a thousand workers stayed in what Menard called “FEMA” style sites.
Menard, who lives in Glastonbury, and Heath, who lives in East Haddam, said they are happy to be ome.
“I’m probably going to hug my kids,” Health said.
Jeniece Roman can be reached at email@example.com.