The final push to restore electric service to all customers affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ike was completed on Sept. 16, National Grid said. As of 3 p.m. that day, less than 200 individual home and business services, primarily in the Mohawk Valley area, remained to be completed.
The company estimated that more than 143,000 homes and businesses lost service as a result of the storm, beginning late Sunday evening when Ike made its way up the Ohio Valley and moved across Upstate New York impacting millions of utility customers. Although the storm moved quickly, it brought several hours of severe winds and, in some cases, heavy rains that brought down limbs, trees, power lines and poles from the edges of Lake Erie to the Hudson River.
The most severe effects were felt in Central New York, with more than 100,000 homes and businesses left without electricity. About 23,000 services were lost in the company’s Western division, along with 20,000 in the Eastern division. Restoration work in those areas was completed on Sept. 15.
“We want to extend our thanks to all our customers for their patience and understanding as we work to restore these final customers,” said Chris Root, National Grid senior vice president of Electricity Distribution Customer Operations. “We also want to thank the hundreds of community leaders and emergency responders who provide such a valuable service to their constituents and the company by assisting in so many ways, making our job a bit easier as we focus on service restoration.”
Full crew contingents from the company’s operating regions in Upstate New York were supported by National Grid crews in New England, along with contractor and utility crews from New England and Long Island. In total, more than 650 crews worked on restoration across the three divisions, backed up by hundreds of behind-the-scenes support personnel from across the company.
“This storm created a number of challenges that we typically might not see, starting with the fact that it hit all three of our upstate operating divisions within just a few hours,” Root said. “Storm damage that is so geographically spread out is always a challenge, but we also quickly recognized that so many surrounding areas were hit even harder so outside resources would be scarce.
“No one wants to be without power for even a little while, so it is especially heartening to witness the understanding and patience that our customers showed throughout as we work to get this wrapped up.”
Root said that even after the final customer was restored, crews would be doing additional clean-up work and final repairs to assure that the network is fully operational. A plan has been developed and is being implemented to return all three divisions to normal operations as quickly as possible.