After Hurricane Sandy, Columbia linemen help restore power in New Jersey

Thursday, November 8, 2012 | 6:24 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Twelve Columbia Water and Light linemen moved to New Jersey on Tuesday after working to help restore power in Cleveland early this week.

The linemen are commuting about two hours to West Milford, N.J., from Allentown, Pa., to help residents in New Jersey get their power back after the damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The recent 10 inches of snow New Jersey received was a challenge the linemen faced when rebuilding power lines Wednesday, lineman Andrew Smith said Thursday. 

The linemen reported the snow resulted in 80,000 customers losing power, according to a news release from Columbia Water and Light. This could keep the workers in New Jersey for an additional two to three weeks, Smith said.

"It was hit pretty hard," Smith said. 

Smith described the damage as "devastating" and said that everything was torn down, and the linemen have to rebuild all the lines.

Connie Kacprowicz, communications and marketing supervisor for Columbia Water and Light, said the linemen work for 16 hours and are off for about 8 hours. 

"It seems impressive for them to sign on to be there for another three weeks further east, dedicated to helping people in need," Kacprowicz said. 

The community is helping the linemen out by giving them food and water and doing some laundry for them, Smith said.

Ewell Lawson, manager of member services at the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, said about 30 linemen from different cities across Missouri are in New Jersey to rebuild power lines.

"They're helping with people on the East Coast and getting their power restored," Lawson said. "We're proud to help out."

Supervising editor is Alison Matas.

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