Utility assistance transcends state lines, service areas

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As many utilities finish up their own power restorations, they know that overall the work is far from over.

Utilities that have fully restored power to their service areas are redeploying crews to other areas of the East Coast as part of the Mutual Assistance Program -- the national effort to restore power to those still without -- which transcends state lines and service areas.

"This is a national response, and today we are still in action, flying crews in from the West Coast, Canada, and now companies that have restored power to their customers are lending a hand to their neighbors," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "We have utility companies sending crews, which make up the 65,000 line and transmission workers, tree resources, assessors, network personnel, and substation experts clearing the way for power."

Yesterday, the military airlifted some 636 tons of equipment (much of which belongs to Southern California Edison) to help with storm damage relief along the East Coast. 

In 2012, the industry is projected to spend more than $94 billion on capital expenditures to make the power grid more resilient, and update and reinforce local distribution and high-voltage transmission systems and technology. Regardless of this spending, no electric utility is storm proof. Sandy brought with her a record-breaking storm surge that no amount of infrastructure spending could have completely protected against.

"Hurricane Sandy is the biggest single task the utility industry has ever faced," said Kuhn. "This has been a transformational response where we're all working together in extraordinary partnership."

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