Nov 122012

GELD lineman Jon Patterson at work during Sandy recovery effort

GELD lineman Jon Patterson at work during Sandy recovery effort

Most people in Groton wrapped up their Hurricane Sandy experience a week or more ago… but not the line crews at the Groton Electric Light Department. As this is being written, a bucket truck with GELD logo on the door is somewhere on the highway, coming back to Groton from Connecticut and New York, where the Halloween Hurricane made landfall and spread devastation far inland.

The truck and rotating crews of linemen from GELD are wrapping up almost two weeks of 16-hour days, helping repair the electrical service of thousands of people left without electricity in the wake of the storm. It was impossible to count the number of homes the Groton crews energized, but thousands of people got power back as a result of their work, GELD manager Kevin Kelly said.

“We were able to engergize all of our occupied homes by the afternoon of October 30,” Kelly said. “Then we sent one crew to Concord (Massachusetts), and after that, another crew on the 31st. When they got released, on Friday the second, we ended up with a crew in south-central Connecticut, and they kept going west and they ended up in Greenwich last Thursday. Then they transitioned to New York, kind of on the coast and going west and south. They were just released this morning as of 11 o’clock; they were on the road coming home.”

“We had one bucket truck down there, and we kept rotating the crews around over the last two weeks. They’ve been working 16 hours a day, paid for by whatever utility company is receiving the mutual aid, and the expense of the truck,” Kelly said. He gave high marks to the GELD linemen for their willingness to participate in the utility’s mutual aid effort: Rob Blood, Bruce Dubey Jr., Gil Finch, Dan Johnson, Jon Patterson, and Jay Willets.

“Working storm duty takes a special breed; you really have to want to be there after 16 hours of being in the rain and snow — it can be pretty miserable. But it’s rewarding and good, and guys like it,” he said.