Lo­cals part of Verid­ian crew on way to At­lanta

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NEWS - TIM MILLER tjmiller@post­media.com – With files from Post­media Net­work

A pair of Belleville res­i­dents are on their way south of the bor­der to lend a hand fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion left in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Irma.

The pair are part of a crew of nine ex­pe­ri­enced lineper­sons and five util­ity ve­hi­cles dis­patched to At­lanta early Wed­nes­day morn­ing by Verid­ian Con­nec­tions.

The group will as­sist with power restora­tion ef­forts cur­rently un­der­way in the south­ern U.S. af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma caused ex­ten­sive flooding and dam­age to in­fras­truc­ture.

Nearly 4.5 mil­lion homes and busi­nesses lost power in the storm that made land­fall on Sun­day.

“The crew is ex­pected to cross into the U.S. this af­ter­noon and make their way to At­lanta where they will re­ceive di­rec­tion from Sparks En­ergy – an Alabam­abased com­pany that pro­vides storm re­sponse and en­ergy restora­tion ser­vices – to help re­store power to the es­ti­mated 650,000 cus­tomers cur­rently with­out power in the state of Ge­or­gia,” stated Peter Petriw, Verid­ian’s vice president of en­gi­neer­ing in a press re­lease Wed­nes­day.

Hur­ri­cane Irma was an ex­tremely pow­er­ful and cat­a­strophic hur­ri­cane. It was the most in­tense At­lantic hur­ri­cane to strike the U.S. since Ka­t­rina in 2005.

More than 600,000 res­i­dents across the state of Ge­or­gia re­main with­out power af­ter the trop­i­cal storm — for­merly a Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane — trudged through the state ear­lier this week.

“Ob­vi­ously the dam­age caused by Hur­ri­cane Irma is caus­ing tremen­dous hard­ships for mil­lions of peo­ple, the restora­tion of elec­tric­ity ser­vice is es­sen­tial to the re­cov­ery ef­forts,” said Chris Mace, Verid­ian cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Mace said the crew will be work­ing along­side other crews fa­mil­iar with the area, the ter­ri­tory and the work in­volved.

“I think it speaks vol­umes to the em­ploy­ees that we have work­ing at Verid­ian,” he con­tin­ued. “That, with­out hes­i­ta­tion, vol­un­teered to help those in need and ob­vi­ously hav­ing to leave or at least spend a pe­riod of time away from their fam­i­lies.

“It’s re­ally un­known as to how long they’re go­ing to be down there for.”

Verid­ian joins a grow­ing num­ber of util­i­ties from On­tario that are, or will soon be, as­sist­ing with power restora­tion in the south­ern U.S. The util­ity has a long tra­di­tion of help­ing other util­i­ties – Cana­dian and Amer­i­can – dur­ing cat­a­strophic events.

Verid­ian Con­nec­tions is the fifth largest mu­nic­i­pally owned elec­tric util­ity in On­tario. The city of Belleville, the city of Pick­er­ing, the town of Ajax, and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Clar­ing­ton jointly own Verid­ian Cor­po­ra­tion, the par­ent com­pany to Verid­ian Con­nec­tions.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A city em­ployee works to clear storm drains on flooded Isabella Street in the down­town area of Way­cross, Ga., af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma moved through the city Mon­day.

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