Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/917618

Utility crews turn on the lights

Crews from across county help restore electricity
By Molly MacMillan | Oct 30, 2012
Photo by: Molly MacMillan Delaware Electric Cooperative linemen (l-r) Carrin Gass, Kevin Hedges, Steve Huffman, Ron Parsons and Benjamin Salisbury stopped for dinner on hour 13 of their 16-hour workday Oct. 30.

Less than 24 hours after Sandy made landfall, officials from local power companies said electric had been restored to a majority of Delaware consumers, with 100 percent expected to be restored by Thursday at Delmarva Power.

Delmarva Power expected to restore power to 47,003 customers by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, company spokesman Nick Morici said. Crews came from as far as Louisiana, Texas and Alabama to combat the storm, he said.

According to the websites, by 6:45 Tuesday evening, only 27 Delmarva Power outages remained in Rehoboth Beach and 99.4 percent of Delaware Electric Cooperative members were in service.

"It’s an all-hands-on-deck event when we have a big storm like this," Morici said. "We received close to 50,000 calls with a turnaround rate of 99 percent fielded, meaning there were no disconnections."

Normally, the company receives 100,000 and 130,000 service calls each month, he said. With time to prepare, Morici said Delmarva Power had 335 customer service representatives available to field calls since Oct. 28, with 115 power line crews, 171 tree crews, 105 assessors and an additional 63 contract assessors from other areas available to handle the storm. He said the additional crews were necessary.

By 4:30 p.m. Oct. 30, Morici said 16,108 customers were still out in an area including Sussex County, Maryland and Virginia. "When those numbers are 0, then we can get out of the mode of storm restoration,” he said.

At the time, the spokesman said there were 608 Delmarva Power outages in Sussex County, 7 in Kent County and 6,867 in New Castle County.

Delmarva Power has an application available for phones to keep track of power outages in the area. For more information, visit the website at www.delmarava.com or call customer service at 800-898-8045.

As of Tuesday evening, the Delaware Electric Cooperative website reported 505 members still out of service with crews restoring power in Kent and Sussex counties.

Lineman Ben Salisbury said most of the power outages have been related to water and tree damage, but the workers have restored a majority of the outages, working 16-hour workdays.

"It's exciting," Salisbury said. "We were out in the middle of it anticipating the worst, and we were spared."

For more information or to report an outage, go to www.delaware.coop or call 855-332-9090.

Lineman braved extreme flooding to restore power throughout low-lying areas in the county. (Photo by: Submitted)
Downed trees were also a culprit for many of the outages. (Photo by: Submitted)
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