Howling winds up to 60 mph battered the Northeast Monday as nearly 500 Alabama Power employees and contractors were on the way to help along the East Coast in the aftermath of winter storms.
The company sent 218 linemen and 122 support personnel to Philadelphia in anticipation of power outages, said Bobby Hawthorne, Power Delivery’s Distribution Engineering Services manager. More than 160,000 homes and businesses were without power in Pennsylvania by Monday afternoon.
“We’re prepared to be up there two weeks,” Hawthorne said. “But we never know. We could come back tomorrow or be there several days.”
Alabama Power will be assisting PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility, which serves more than 1.6 million electric customers. Alabama Power’s help was coordinated through the mutual assistance program of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, an association of utilities.
In addition, about 150 Alabama Power contract linemen were released to support Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), with 1.25 million electric customers; Delmarva Power, serving 520,000 customers in Delaware and Maryland; and Pepco, serving 815,000 in the Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
The Weather Channel called it “a major wind event” for the Eastern Seaboard and New England. Although little snow is expected, the same storm Sunday belted the upper Midwest with 675,000 power outages, grounded commercial air flights and whiteout conditions causing interstate pileups and closures.