River Falls linemen head out east to volunteer for hurricane clean-up
RIVER FALLS - Lineman with the River Falls Municipal Utilities left River Falls last Thursday to help other power crews restore electricity to the thousands without it in the wake of this week's 'super storm' Sandy, according to a press release the city issued yesterday from RFMU General Manager Carl Gaulke.
Dan Treichel and Tim Wiste headed out in one of the city's trucks to Tannersville, Penn. They're among about a dozen crews traveling to the storm-ravaged area.
Before the storm hit, the national electric groups estimated that 20,000 distribution lineman would be needed for restoration efforts. Damage to the electric system(s) was greater than experts predicted, prompting calls to power companies outside the storm's general region.
In 2000, RFMU signed a mutual aid agreement to assist other municipal utilities in restoring power to customers following major storm events. It is unusual for the mutual-aid crews to be sent outside of Wisconsin, but the release says:
"The local choice was to take action as we would appreciate if ever found to be in a similar situation."
Gaulke says in the release that Treichel and Wiste were eager to get on the road and have an opportunity to provide desperately needed assistance. He said there are other linemen to maintain good service locally.
"We are very proud of both Dan and Tim for offering to help restore service from this disaster," Gaulke said. "This is something nobody ever wants to experience in their community."
The linemen will most likely be working closely with the other crews from Wisconsin, as well as supervisory and safety personnel from Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin. It is estimated that this crew will return home within two weeks.