Photo courtesy of PSE&G

Photo courtesy of PSE&G

When Winter Storm Stella hit earlier this month, utilities across the Northeast had to work quickly to restore power and keep customers safe. The State of New York was hit hardest, with up to 48.4 inches of snow, reports the Weather Channel. But many areas were also hit with strong winds, ice, and coastal flooding.

Before the storm, Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSE&G) in New Jersey made sure all of its trucks had tire chains available and any vehicles in for non-critical maintenance were returned to the field.

All vehicles were topped off with fuel, and trucks were stocked with shovels, sand, and salt in addition to electrical supplies. The company also rented about 20 four-wheel-drive SUVs to help personnel get around safely. At its morning safety tailboard sessions, the utility stressed safe driving and ensured all storm response personnel have letters authorizing them to travel on N.J. roads in case the Governor issued a travel ban.

During the storm, PSE&G deployed 552 bucket trucks with aerial lifts so crews could restore service to the more than 50,000 customers who lost power.

The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) reported that Winter Storm Stella left the most damage since 1998. 15,000 co-op members lost power at the peak of the storm, but the real damage came to utility infrastructure. Large white pine trees fell in many towns, blocking roads and knocking down utility poles and wire.

Most NHEC crews worked along roadsides to replace broken poles, using 117 poles, 75 8-ft. cross arms, 600 insulators, 50 transformers, and 10,000 feet of wire. Additional crews used ATVs and snowshoes to replace poles and hang wire in spots inaccessible by trucks. At the height of its restoration efforts, 44 line crews and more than 20 tree crews were at work.