Among the workers and equipment helping to restore electricity in New Jersey is a contingent from Ameren. Ameren has 400 linemen and supervisors and 200 trucks there, and they expect to be there a while, says Ronald D. Pate, vice president of operations and technical services for Ameren Illinois.
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“With the extent of the damage here it’s just very hard to say, but we have told our folks, when we told ‘em to pack we said that they can expect to be out here 10 to 14 days and with what I’ve seen so far, I think that’s a pretty reasonable estimate,” he said. Ameren employees are working shifts of 12-14 hours to repair damaged caused this week by Hurricane Sandy.
Pate is based in Decatur. He’s in Princeton, N.J. now, where trees and poles have fallen over, pulling down overhead lines. He says there’s some damage from substations that are or were under water, though his group isn’t working on that. Ameren will be paid for this help by the New Jersey utility Public Service Electric & Gas, under a mutual aid agreement.
PSE&G says about 775,000 New Jersey customers are still without power, down from 1.7 million at the peak. It may take 7-10 days to restore full service.