Restoration crews sent to New York in the wake of Sandy

BOISE, Idaho -- Crews from Idaho Power are packing their bags for a cross-country road trip to New York, where they will be helping Long Island Power Authority restore power that was lost during Hurricane Sandy.

Officials from Idaho Power expect the two six-man crews to spend two or three weeks helping to fix power lines in the areas hardest hit by the storm.

The 2,500 mile drive will take them to Old Bethpage, New York, where they will be dispatched to help restore power to the hundreds of thousands of Americans that are still without power service.

Idaho Power received word that their assistance was needed on the east coast late Friday afternoon. Employees across the company worked into the night to ensure that its crews could make a quick departure.

On Saturday, the group spent Saturday loading up the ten service vehicles with the equipment that they will need once they reach New York. Idaho Power is sending four bucket trucks, four pickups loaded with supplies and two line-bed trucks (used for digging holes and replacing poles).

Idaho Power Official Vern Porter said that for their company, the situation caused by Sandy can be felt across the nation.

"For Idaho Power, in this situation, physical boundaries aren't going to get in the way," said Porter. "This is about people pulling together and working together."

Idaho Power offered to help with the restoration effort last week. Officials said that the offer was "equal parts goodwill and industry protocol; the Mutual Assistance Program (developed by the Edison Electric Institute) lets utilities in need augment their workforce by leveraging crews and equipment from other utilities."

While the company is sending a great number of resources to the east coast, reconstruction aid coordinator Matt Smith said that they will have adequate resources to recover power if anything happens in its Idaho and Oregon regions.

"We'll continue to respond to our own customers' needs," said Smith. "But we want to be good neighbors and lend a helping hand where it's needed. Our crews are eager to step up and help folks, and we take great pride in our ability to go and help out."