By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
Update September 13: The CoServ linemen who were sent to Louisiana on August 30 returned home safely Saturday. They have been working 16- to 18-hour days in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
On Friday, a fresh crew of CoServ linemen arrived in Slidell, Louisiana to continue providing mutual aid to the Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative. They ate a quick breakfast at 5 a.m. Saturday and were climbing utility poles by dawn.
WSTEC reported that all members have their power back on but there is still significant damage to their infrastructure. CoServ crews continue to replace broken utility poles, cracked crossarms and damaged insulators to prevent future power outages.
Original Story: The Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative in Louisiana has specifically asked that CoServ linemen assist with the power restoration work that remains to be done in their service area in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
They are requesting CoServ crews because they have been impressed with the work they have done since they arrived in the area north of Lake Pontchartrain on August 30.
“There was no doubt in my mind our crews would stand out and shine amongst the rest,” said Cody Coulter, CoServ’s Operations Manager. “Between our outstanding training program, commitment to safety and the work ethic instilled in our linemen, there isn’t a situation they won’t excel in.”
Another group of linemen left CoServ headquarters for Louisiana Friday morning to relieve the current crews, who are expected to come home Saturday.
The 18 linemen who are there right now are divided into two crews, one of which is working near Folsom and Loranger. CoServ is familiar with the area as this is just 10 miles from where company crews worked after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The other crew rode a barge across the Pearl River Canal to help replace utility poles knocked down by Ida. Once they reached the other side, they used a special boom-tip crane with tracks to put up the new utility poles. After the poles were secured, they climbed the new poles to string wire back in the air and commence the process of connecting lines.
WSTEC is now down to just over 2,000 members without power. But restoration numbers may slow down as more than 22,000 utility poles were knocked down statewide by Ida, as reported by local media outlets, meaning there is more work to be done in securing new poles and reconnecting lines.
A whole day’s worth of work may only restore power for a handful of members or maybe just a single home, but CoServ crews’ continue to prove over and over, their determination will not waiver until the job is done. Click here to read comments from WSTEC members who are thankful to have their power turned back on.