NEWS RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF RIVER FALLS:
Prior to Hurricane Sandy hitting the coast, the national electric groups issued an estimate of the need for 20,000 distribution linemen to assist with restoration efforts. The storm damage to electric distribution was, in some cases, worse than predicted. The damage is widespread. This has led to a call from power companies outside the region to assist.
In 2000, River Falls Municipal Utilities signed a mutual aid agreement to assist other municipal utilities in restoring power to customers following major storm events. It is rare that this mutual aid call requires crews to be sent outside of Wisconsin, but with the recent disaster on the east coast, the local choice was to take action as we would appreciate if ever found to be in a similar situation.
Through a coordinated effort with Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin (MEUW), this morning River Falls Municipal Utilities sent two linemen and a truck to join over a dozen other municipal electric utility crews from Wisconsin already in route to Tannersville, Pennsylvania. River Falls Municipal Utilities linemen, Dan Treichel and Tim Wiste, were anxious to get on the road and have the opportunity to provide assistance that is so desperately needed.
Utility General Manager Carl Gaulke stated, “We are very proud of both Dan and Tim for offering to help restore service from this disaster. This is something nobody ever wants to experience in their community.” Dan and Tim will most likely be working closely with the other crews from Wisconsin, as well as supervisory and safety personnel from MEUW. At this time, it is estimated that this crew will return home within two weeks.