Thursday, March 7, 2013

Heading Home

Location: West of Cumberland, Maryland

As I mentioned in my last post, storms can be unpredictable. Sometimes, it's difficult to tell exactly where the worst weather will hit. I went to Maryland along with lots of crews and other support staff; but, fortunately, the cold front that would have turned this storm into a real mess didn't move south quickly enough. Predicted heavy snow in the Maryland and Washington, DC, areas became a few inches of snow that didn't do much damage to the grid.

Restoring Service in West Virginia

The storm did disrupt service to nearly 26,000 customers in West Virginia, so we decided that was going to be the best place to get on the ground and see the process up close. However, as with so many things in the utility business, this has proven complex. 

Many of the actual repair sites are in remote, rugged terrain. Although I have the invincible feeling that one can only get when behind the wheel of a rented SUV, my co-workers, who are familiar with the area, explained a few other difficulties that I might encounter, including that, sometimes, GPS and maps in the mountainous areas there can be less than complete. This means they may not note which routes are passable in the winter, or may not be updated with roads that haven't officially been maintained in decades. 

Also, cell service in many areas there is less than guaranteed, which means that office boy might not be able to summon help if his SUV adventures go awry. Finally, it's difficult to blog about our activities when communication channels are not available.

Until Next Time...

We expect our remaining customers in West Virginia to be restored by midnight on Friday, thanks to the dedicated work of our crews and those from other utilities, who came to our aid so capably.

We'll see you when the next storm hits!