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Arizona utility workers powering up East Coast homes

Crews from Valley utility companies APS and SRP are somewhat out of their element, fixing power lines in the rain and snow.

But the nor’easter blasting along the East Coast isn’t stopping them from bringing electricity to the hundreds of thousands who have been living without it for more than a week.

“Crews here are coping as best they can,” said Steven Gotfried, who’s with the 30-man crew APS sent to Long Island. “Every day they evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, and what they need to do better.”

Workers from APS and SRP have been back east for nearly a week. Wednesday delivered their biggest challenge, as high winds and wet conditions made their way through the region.

“The weather was definitely an element that made it much more difficult to restore power,” Gotfried said.

“Out here on the island it is a wet, slushy, snow. The guys’ shoes and hands kept getting wet from the moisture, and the focus was trying to stay warm and dry throughout the day.”

Gotfried said they’ve restored power to about 4,000 customers on Long Island.

“We’ve been given ownership to this small area of homes on the north shore,” Gotfried said. “Our guys go out every day, they walk the lines, they see what repairs need to be done, and they’re just getting the job done.”

Before the nor’easter uprooted large oak trees onto power lines, the number of customers APS was helping was below 200,000. That number went up to about 240,000 on Wednesday, according to Gotfried.

“We will be here until we are no longer needed,” Gotfried said.