Allegheny crews help in Northeast

January 12, 1998

Allegheny crews help in Northeast


Staff Writer

Tri-State area residents are helping the Northeast United States recover from the effects of last week's devastating ice storms.

Allegheny Power has sent seven two-member crews and a mechanic from its Williamsport office and four crews from Franklin County, Pa., to help in the effort to restore electricity in the region, said company spokeswoman Debbie Beck.

The area workers are part of a group of more than 100 employees that Allegheny Power has sent to the region.


Last week's ice storms cut off power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in parts of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Allegheny Power dispatched crews on Jan. 8 and Jan. 10 after Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. in upstate New York issued a call for assistance.

Beck said helping other utility companies is a "good-neighbor policy," and said Allegheny Power has received help when storms hit this area in the past.

"We want to do everything we can to maintain that good working relationship with other utilities," she said.

Allegheny Power crews have been working in the Syracuse, Lake Placid and Ogdensburg. Niagara Mohawk has estimated that more than 20,000 utility poles must be replaced and about 92,000 customers are out of service.

"Our employees tell us you can't appreciate the severity of the storm without being there," said Jim Haney, director of operations services for Allegheny Power.

Allegheny Power crews are expected to stay in the area for another two weeks, "or until we get Niagara Mohawk back on its feet," Haney said.

Beck said there has been no request for additional help so far, but Allegheny Power would be willing to evaluate any additional need. Allegheny Power will bill Mohawk for the work, she said.

"If we see a further need and we have the resources, then we can send more," she said.

Two Washington County residents are trained for American Red Cross disaster work, but they have not been called to assist so far, said Cynthia Blackstock Kline, director of emergency services for the county Red Cross chapter.

Kline said those wanting to donate to disaster relief can mail checks to the Red Cross office at 113 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown Md., 21740. Donors should indicate if they want the money specifically spent on the Northwest relief effort.

"We'll make sure that's where it goes," she said.

Kline said she hasn't heard of much local interest so far, but that might pick up after the television and newspaper publicity the disaster received over the weekend.

Roy Grove, who has organized and participated in disaster relief work in the past, said he is not involved in a local effort to help those in the Northeast, but will look into ways he might help.

"I'd do something if I knew what I could do," said Grove, president of Solliday Oil Co. in Hagerstown.

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