ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) – As many as one thousand utility workers from around the nation headed to the East Coast Thursday and Friday as a blizzard struck the northeast.
150 of the workers are on loan from Ameren contractors in the St. Louis area. The linemen and tree trimmers will assist New York state utilities restore power.
The manpower sharing occurs under mutual assistance organizations that most utilities belong to.
“In some sense it is an investment in the future because there will come a time when we here in the Midwest in Missouri or Illinois when we are impacted by a storm we’re gonna need the resources back,” said Mike Marx, an Ameren Illinois storm recovery manager.
Marx and his staff have been watching the weather forecasts for days, anticipating the call for help. “We took stock of our work needs, work load needs as well as the weather and determined if the contract workers were asked, we’d agree to release a certain portion of them to assist on the East coast.”
So far only workers under contract to Ameren have been sent east. Ameren employees are remaining in town.
Marx says the real concern is hurricane strength winds that would rip down power lines and cause snow drifting. That will slow the recovery work.
The home utility using the out of state manpower will pay the workers and the cost of bringing them to the east coast.