Southern California Edison, southwest Riverside County's electric provider, is sending assistance to the East Coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it was announced Tuesday.
Approximately 170 SCE employees and contractors will report to assist Consolidated Edison Company of New York, known as Con Edison, SCE said in a news release.
Vehicles and equipment will be leaving from SCE's Menifee utility yard, where 54 trucks are being loaded onto flatbeds for a cross-country convoy that is expected to take 3-5 days, according to SCE spokesperson Dan Chung.
"During natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, it is vital to provide whatever assistance we can to fellow utilities to help get the power back on as quickly as possible," SCE President Ron Litzinger said. "SCE has a long tradition of helping other utilities during catastrophic events, and our team will work hard to get the lights back on in damaged areas on the East Coast."
More than 8.2 million people from Maine to the Carolinas were without electricity as of Tuesday morning, Associated Press reported. The U.S. death toll from the catastrophic natural disaster has risen to 39 people, according to AP.
Approximately $20 billion in property damage and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business could make Sandy one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the U.S., according to IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm.
Lower Manhattan, which includes Wall Street, was among the hardest-hit areas after the storm sent a nearly 14-foot surge of seawater, a record, coursing over its seawalls and highways, AP reported.
SCE is responding to a request for mutual aid from Con Edison under the auspices of the Edison Electric Institute, an association of U.S. investor-owned electric companies, according to the news release. Costs for the work will be paid for by Con Edison under the terms of a mutual assistance agreement, according to SCE.
SCE personnel will be flying to the damaged area in time for the ground convoy’s arrival. This includes 12 four-person crews and support personnel, totaling about 90 people. In addition, 36 contract tree trimmers and 36 contract electrical are being sent to help with restoration efforts.
"Also included in the ground transport will be one of SCE’s mobile command centers used for field communications and dispatching during emergencies and disasters," SCE said in the news release.
In determining how many people to send, SCE said it assessed its staffing capacity to ensure sufficient personnel remained to support its own system.