12 local AMEREN lineman helped restore power in N.J.
Mushrush of Gilman. supervised a crew of 12 Ameren Illinois linemen who helped restore power tom hundreds of Public Service Electric & Gas Company customers in the Trenton-Princeton-North Brunswick area following Hurricane Sandy and a smaller storm a few days later.
The crew, from the Champaign, Paxton and Danville offices of Ameren Illinois, was gone from October 29th to November 14th and spent 13 long days replacing poles and lines.
“About the only sightseeing we did was we were up on a mountain and we went up and you could see the skyline of New York from there, about 40 miles away.”
“We would start at 5 a.m. and work until 10 p.m. Now some of that was driving, eating meals, and having safety meetings. But it was am lot of work too.”
Most of the damage in the region where the 244 Ameren Illinois workers were assigned was wind-related, he said.
“That was the main problem, all those trees.”
“But a few days later they had that nor’easter that dumped about 3 to 4 inches of snow - wet, heavy snow.”
“The driving was horrible out there. There are no left turns. It’s a lot like NASCAR in New Jersey,” he said. “You’ve got to turn right, turn right, and turn right on those main highways. There’s just a lot of traffic.
By “a lot different,” he means “a lot worse.”
On the other hand, the people were thoughtful and kind to the Ameren workers.
“We got more pop, water, coffee, cookies, doughnuts, pretzels. There were very few complaints, even at the end. They were just glad to see us.”
The Ameren crews assembled every day at the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township, N.J., and stayed at a nearby hotel that served them a hot breakfast and dinner and supplied them with box lunches. The hotel also had a laundry service.
Ameren Illinois will be reimbursed by PSE&G for all its employee costs, said spokesman Jenifer Hagen.
The work was tedious in the first few days because the PSE&G dispatchers were overwhelmed by the amount of work and the number of crews available, Mushrush said.
He was especially proud of his crew for the financial donation they made to the storm victims.
Mushrush said he’d volunteer for storm repair work again.