11/13/2012 1:44:00 PM Cooperative spirit exhibited in Sandy's aftermath
People's Energy Cooperative sent three line workers and two trucks to assist the Long Island Power Authority after the region was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. These hardworking employees volunteered to leave their homes and families to work in some of the hardest hit communities on the east coast. It means working long hours in difficult and challenging situations for about two weeks. I thank these employees for their dedication to their profession.
As you can imagine, marshaling the manpower, material and equipment necessary to respond to such a massive storm has been a huge undertaking. Yet, electric utilities understand the importance of providing mutual aid during times of crisis. Electric cooperatives have a long history of honoring this code of service. Our line professionals take great pride in their work and recognize the importance of restoring power as quickly and safely as possible.
More than 11,000 workers are dedicated to the power restoration effort. This includes about 6,200 line workers and tree-trimming crews from all over the country, some of whom were airlifted in by the Department of Defense. Nine Minnesota electric cooperatives dispatched employees to assist with power restoration. Thirty-two employees, including those from People's, are in Long Island, N.Y. Another ten Minnesotans are working in Connecticut, a state in which there are no electric cooperatives.
The teamwork between the electric cooperatives, investor-owned and municipal utilities is drawing praise. About 8 million people lost power as a result of the storm, but just over 100,000 were cooperative members. Reports from storm-ravaged communities show that co-op crews are quickly becoming neighborhood heroes, despite out-of-state license plates and unfamiliar logos on their vehicles. For those who have had their lives turned upside down by the super storm, the restoration of electric power is the first step toward recovery.
I'm thankful that People's employees are willing to generously share their talent and expertise with those in need in New York. Yet, you don't need to travel far to recognize the dedication and deep sense of duty all our employees feel towards their work. They demonstrate it each day in their service to our local members. Your cooperative exists for the sole purpose of serving you, the members/owners.
As we enter the holiday season, I am continually reminded that we must be thankful for our many blessings, including family, friends, co-workers and community. As demonstrated by the round-the-clock disaster relief efforts taking place out east, great things can be accomplished when we pull together. That's the cooperative way!