Workers travel from afar to help restore power

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Workers from Wolf Tree in Tennessee take a break Monday before getting back to work helping Dominion Virginia Power restore power to more than a million customers who lost it during Hurricane Irene. From left, Bill Davis, Sam Davis, James Morgan, Stephen Scheffers and Tony Kivett.

James Morgan had to leave in the middle of his son’s football game on Saturday to come to Virginia.

He was one of hundreds called in from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and other states to help Dominion Virginia Power restore electricity to more than one million customers who lost it during the storm.

Morgan, an aerial manager, works for Wolf Tree, a Tennessee contractor that has a contract with Dominion to work on transmission lines.

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“That’s how we got involved in this,” Morgan said.

In Suffolk alone, there are about 400 people from other power companies and contractors helping restore power.

By midday Wednesday, Dominion and its mutual aid partners had restored power to more than 920,000 of 1.2 million customers who had lost power. It has said 90 to 95 percent of customers will be restored by Friday evening, with those in areas that suffered the most extreme damage being restored by Saturday evening.

Morgan and others in Wolf Tree signed up last week to volunteer to come to Virginia. Some were already here Friday night, staying in local hotels and staging their equipment in the parking lots.

However, some didn’t know if they would be needed until the storm passed — when Morgan’s son was playing football.

“That was very hard to do,” Morgan said. “I got here Sunday morning.”

The new arrivals received safety training from Dominion.

“You’re not even allowed to work on this system without safety training,” Morgan said.

Then, they got to work restoring power.

“It’s a beautiful area,” said Morgan, for whom this was the first trip to Hampton Roads.