Help's on its way: Area electric companies send technicians to restore hurricane outages

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By Sarah Bennett

The aftermath of Hurricane Isaac may bring rain this weekend into the area, but that’s not the only impact of it.

Earlier this week, Nolin RECC sent 18 technicians and 11 trucks to Baton Rouge, La., to help restore electricity to an estimated 60,000 homes left in the dark by the hurricane.

Vince Heuser, vice president of system operations, said the technicians left Tuesday and will stay in Louisiana until restoration is complete.

He estimated the job will be finished in about two weeks.

Technicians are helping Dixie Electric Cooperative in Baton Rouge, which supplies electricity to 100,000 residences in the area, Heuser said.

Nolin officials spoke Thursday with employees in Baton Rouge, he said. According to Heuser, the technicians reported weather conditions were making it difficult to work as the area still was experiencing heavy rains and wind.

He said officials began planning to send technicians to Louisiana about a week ago when meteorologists predicted Hurricane Isaac would proceed up the Florida coastline and strike the Gulf of Mexico coast.

On Thursday, Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric sent more than 200 employees and Kentucky-based contractors to the gulf area to help Entergy, which serves Louisiana and areas of Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas, according to a news release.

According to Entergy’s website, the corporation delivers electricity to 2.8 million customers in those states.

Officials said the team consists of veteran line technicians, team leaders and tree trimmers, who will help restore power and repair storm-damaged equipment and downed wires.

KU, LG&E and Nolin participate in nationwide mutual aid programs and provide assistance during times of disaster, officials said.

“When help is needed, we go,” Heuser said.

According to the release, Entergy crews provided assistance in 2008 and 2009 during storm restorations in Kentucky.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.