Eversource, CT National Guard heading to Louisiana for Ida recovery

Connecticut

(WTNH) — More than a million homes and businesses are without power, thanks to Hurricane Ida, but help is on the way. Eversource line crews from Connecticut are coming to help fix that problem.

Some 40 line crews met at the Eversource headquarters to say goodbye to Connecticut for a while. Their boss telling them it will not be an easy job.

“This is a complete wipeout of the system down there,” said Eversource CEO Joe Nolan. “This is not going to be a repair, this is a complete rebuild down there.”

Ida knocked out power to a million customers, and the repair crews know the only way to restore it one line at a time.

“No power is no power,” explained Eversource lineman John Pettway. “It’s just how bad it is, how quick can we put it back on. But with this one, it seems like we’re going to have a problem.”

John went to Louisiana for Hurricane Ike. Lambert has hit the road multiple times like, and he knows it’s impossible to predict what the next few weeks have in store.

“I’ve done the cots in tents, and I’ve been to Puerto Rico and I stayed at a place called Palmas Del Mar, which was right on the ocean,” remembered chief lineman Lambert Givens. “So, like I said, you never know.”

Back when it was Connecticut Light and Power, line crews made a similar trip after Katrina. News8 saw firsthand the massive effort just to get to affected areas. It’s possible Ida could be just as bad.

“We’re expecting some flooding. We’re expecting to get some local knowledge on how to get to the events that we’re going to be dispatched to,” explained Joe LaPorta, who is the operations manager for Eversource in New London. “Because it’s a low-lying part of the country, we know that flooding was an issue.”

They will work 16-hour shifts for days at a time, trying to make life a little better for the people of Louisiana.

“You look at people with no power, you see the despair on their face,” Pettway said. “Once you get their power back up, when they say thank you, from the bottom of their heart, that means a lot right there.”

It is a little more than a thousand miles from Berlin, CT to New Orleans. The line crews are driving their bucket trucks 500 miles today, then they will spend the night, then drive the second 500 miles. That should get them right outside the area where they need to be. By that time tomorrow afternoon, they should know exactly where they are going to start working.

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