EPB preps locally for Sandy, sends crews to northeast
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - As the east coast braces for Sandy's destruction, they'll have help from the Tennessee Valley. More than 50 EPB line and tree workers have been dispatched to the northeast.
EPB is keeping a close eye on conditions locally and officials say heavy wind and lightning will likely cause some damage here. They have quite the system to prep for it and calculate how many crews the utility can afford to send to the northeast to help.
Raging waves and winds have east coast utility companies already calling EPB for help, predicting millions will lose power.
"Many of them had come and assisted us when we had the major storm back in 2011," EPB Assistant Vice President of Operations Wendell Boring says.
"We want to do the same for other companies when they're desperate. We know the storm is going to hit the northeast and it's going to be pretty significant," EPB Senior Manager of System Analysis & Control Don Nanney says.
EPB sent 18 crews to the northeast but say they still have around 40 crews here to handle local outages.
"They go with an understanding if we have an emergency back at home, you drop what you're doing and you come back to us," Boring says.
They're making sure not to be caught off guard here at home.
"It gives us lightning. we're seeing the wind speeds. We can tell the direction of the wind right here and the magnitude of the gusts," Nanney said.
They're closely monitoring how this "monster storm" will impact the Tennessee Valley.
"Right now we have 20 and 30 mph wind gusts coming in," Nanney says.
They're taking all factors into consideration.
"One thing that kind of works for us right now is we haven't had any rain in over a week now," Nanney says.
They say that means trees are less likely to fall right now, but are still ready for problems.
"The storm is progressing across the system on there and we can see where our damage is visually, real quickly," Nanney says.
EPB says they don't normally send out crews to assist ahead of storms because they end up "hurricane chasing," but say in this case, widespread outages are inevitable.
The utility says once it determines the scope of local damage, it may be able to send out more crews to the northeast later in the week.