TWO RIVERS, Wisc. — Two city line workers and a utility bucket truck departed Wisconsin Dec. 9 bound for St. Croix along with line workers from municipal utilities in Marshfield, Rice Lake, Arcadia, Fennimore, Clintonville and Reedsburg.
Head lineman Brian Dellemann and expert lineman Darrick Wendricks are part of a Wisconsin contingent that will be working on island for 30 days to assist in power restoration efforts that are ongoing after the region was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.
They are scheduled to work 12 hours per day, six days per week, assisting the Virgin Islands Power and Water Authority (WAPA) in restoring homes and businesses on the island of approximately 50,000 to electricity.
According to recent reports, more than half of the island is still without electricity.
On Monday, their truck was loaded on a ship at the Port of Palm Beach, Florida, for transport to St. Croix. The line workers will be flown to the island, where they will link up with their vehicle.
This utility mutual aid mission was organized by the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin. Earlier this fall, personnel from several MEUW utilities provided similar assistance in Puerto Rico.
MEUW’s Job Training and Safety Director Steve Hedden is part of the group headed to St. Croix.
Theoretically, the city will be “fully reimbursed for its personnel and equipment costs under a mutual aid agreement through MEUW” with WAPA.
While they are gone, Two Rivers electric reliability needs will be handled by the balance of our very capable field crew: another four line workers, one electrician and one meter technician, supervised by Electric Utility Director Ken Kozak … and very capably supported by Administrative Assistant Kay Nooker.
To see how the workers are doing, please look for updates on their work in St. Croix on the Two Rivers City Hall and Two Rivers Water and Light Facebook pages.
The City of Two Rivers is very proud these seasoned line workers are willing to lend their skills and experience to this relief work. They will undoubtedly gain valuable experience in disaster recovery operations, and bring new perspectives back to their work in Two Rivers.
Besides, you never know when our community might be on the receiving end of such emergency assistance.
WAPA workers refuse to work on Christmas and other major holidays.
The electrical workers on St. Croix parked their vehicles for two months, saying trucks were not working, but they were.