A professional line crew from Benton County Electric System (BCES) stocked their trucks, gathered their gear, and headed south to offer aid to the citizens of Albany, Ga. where hundreds of thousands of people continue to be without power. They arrived home over the weekend after being gone since October 9. The crew served with more than 200 other linemen and worked 16 hour days for two weeks straight.
Assistant general Manager Scott Owens said on Monday, “They said goodbye to their families and went toward the call of duty. While most people are trying to get out of the storm-hit parts of Georgia, line workers from across the country are heading that direction and beginning work as soon as it is safe to enter the devastated areas.”
The distribution utilities throughout the TVA area and beyond, call upon one another when storms and disasters require manpower above their capacity to restore service in a timely manner. The sending utility is reimbursed for travel, man-hours, and expenses in labor and material used later; however, the goodwill of helping people is what Public Power is all about. Raymond Barnes, General Manager, stated, “I talked with the supervising foreman, the night they arrived, and they experienced 100 m.p.h. winds at their hotel all night, and currently do not even have power at their hotel. The conditions these workers walk into are the worst of the worst.”
According to Owens, BCES has been assisted numerous times, from widespread windstorm damage, the tornadoes in Faxon, or large spread ice storm damage. With a phone call to known professional contacts at other distribution systems, and various professional associations such as Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) and Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association (TMEPA), the valley goes to work for the ones in need.
During such a crucial time, BCES is asking its customers to remember these workers as they will be gone for an undetermined amount of time from their home and families. Also, remember all the line workers in additional to BCES that are working to restore power.
Owens finished by saying, “If the need shall ever arise in Benton County, the valley and beyond will help us restore power in the safest and efficient manner possible.”