LEWISVILLE– Forty-three crew members from Texas-New Mexico Power are scheduled to return home on Thursday and Friday after spending more than two weeks on the road, helping to restore power for people affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Two crews left Texas on Oct. 28 and 30, respectively, as part of a nationwide mutual assistance effort.
The first team briefly made repairs in Maryland before the two teams combined and moved to work in New Jersey, which was struck particularly hard by the hurricane. They were released to return home on Monday.
"We're very proud of the work our employees completed on the East Coast," said TNMP President Neal Walker. "Our teams made repairs – and did so safely – to enable power to be restored to countless numbers of customers. The feedback we've received from those customers has been tremendous."
TNMP's Facebook page has received about 2,000 comments from people, mostly in recent days from New Jersey residents, thanking the teams. Many of those New Jersey customers met the TNMP linemen while they were making repairs – offering food and coffee and expressing appreciation.
"People are grateful after storms have taken out their power for days and days," said Larry Wiggins, one of TNMP's field supervisors on the trip. "But I don't know that they've ever been this grateful. They were really going above and beyond."
TNMP's crew members came from throughout the company's service area – Lewisville to Pecos, Olney to Texas City, and many others around Texas – to work this mutual assistance event.
Wiggins said the damage the team found was similar to that caused by Hurricane Ike in TNMP's Gulf Coast service area in 2008.
"We didn't see anything any worse than we saw with Hurricane Ike, but it was on a larger scale because (Sandy) was so big," said Wiggins, a 29-year TNMP employee who works out of the company's Friendswood office. "It just covered a lot of areas."
TNMP's mutual assistance outreach by the numbers
36 - Energy technicians (aka, linemen) 7 - Additional employees, including supervisors, mechanics and a safety advisor 18 - Heavyweight utility trucks 37 to 42 - Length of the heavyweight trucks, as measured in feet 10 - Additional vehicles, including mechanics' trucks 8 - Days on the road for most crew members 2 - Days spent restoring power for customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric 9 - Days spent restoring power for customers of First Energy's Jersey Central Power & Light 12 - Typical number of hours per day crew members worked 1,958 - Miles from Manasquan, N.J., to Pecos Zero - Injuries to TNMP crew members
TNMP is a transmission and distribution service provider that delivers power to about 230,000 homes and businesses on behalf of retail electric providers in Texas. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of PNM Resources.