"We sent more than 200 workers, including our company employees and contract workers, to the Northeast," said Larry Shields, operations manager for Entergy Arkansas, Inc. "They were very successful in helping our sister utilities in their time of need, just like they have done for us following major restorations for our customers. As our operations coordinator said, 'We are a village that will do whatever it takes to get your lights on - because they''re going to be coming to help us one day.'"
The Entergy Arkansas workers left in two waves in late October, initially headed for the Washington, D.C. area. They worked with Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI) - Atlantic City Electric in Atlantic City, N.J., Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) in Paramus, N.J., and Con Edison in Manhattan and Staten Island.
"Our workers remained in high spirits while away," said Shields, "while facing challenges including cold weather, traffic jams and working with unfamiliar equipment."
Six Entergy Arkansas underground crew members are scheduled to return later this week. Entergy's 875 workers joined an army of 67,000 from more than 80 utility companies from as far away as Canada, California and Hawaii. The storm disrupted power to 9.6 million utility customers.
"It has been a long, challenging and at the same time rewarding effort," said Brady Aldy, transmission and distribution operations director for Entergy Arkansas, Inc. "The key focus for the crews is to safely drive back to their destinations. This restoration effort is not over until every person safely arrives back home to their family."