T&D World Magazine

National Grid Responds to Rare Early October Snow Storm

A rare early October snow storm dumped 2 ft of wet snow on western New York State, including Buffalo, toppling trees and power lines. Over 265,000 homes and businesses were affected by the storm and were without power. The snow fell Thursday, October 12 into Friday. By the following Thursday National Grid had restored power to more than 80% of the homes and businesses affected. The company completed power restoration by Saturday night, October 21.

“We continue to be amazed at the extent of the destruction that was wrought by this storm,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, vice president of Business Services for National Grid’s Western Division. “Our survey crews estimate that the storm left 9,000 neighborhood blocks with tree damage, 10,000 individual services to be reconnected and more than 1.5 million feet of wire in need of repair, replacement or re-stringing.” Elsenbeck added that because much of the extensive tree damage is in areas that have primarily back-lot construction, it takes six tree crews to do the work that normally would be handled by one crew.

More than 4,000 workers from National Grid, other utilities and qualified contractors from 16 states and three Canadian provinces worked around the clock to repair the damage.

The number of crews and support workers that descended upon Western New York was roughly equivalent to the population of a small town, and National Grid implemented a massive logistical support system to accommodate the vast influx of staff.

A large staging area was been set up in a parking lot in Clarence, NY, to serve as a central location for feeding and deploying crews; storing materials, supplies and equipment; conducting safety briefings and parking for more than a thousand bucket trucks and other vehicles involved in the restoration.

Field workers shuttled to and from their hotels directly to the staging area by a fleet of 50 buses. “This way,” said Elsenbeck, “they have a one-stop location for meals, assignments, information, materials pick-up and everything else they need before departing directly to the job site. There is even an on-site nurse practitioner who handles any medical or health issues that may arise, including refilling prescriptions.”

“We have found the staging area to be extremely effective in expediting our ability to restore customers’ power and helping to keep the field workers well-fed and well-rested,” Elsenbeck commented.

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