Crews head to California to help with restoration efforts

In the midst of the California wild fires, residents are experiencing tremendous loss. In any natural disaster like this, there is always an intense effort to get services of all kinds restored as quickly as possible so people can begin rebuilding their lives. What many may not know is how utilities across the country manage mutual assistance programs to lend a hand during disasters like fires, floods, and storms.  

Pacific Gas and Electric, which serves the Redding, California area, is in such need now. To support their restoration efforts, Avista sent two, five-member line crews and other personnel to assist in electrical distribution infrastructure repairs caused by the Carr Fire.  

Avista is a member of The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Western Region Mutual Assistance Group (WRMAG) which is one of seven mutual assistance groups in the United States. The Avista crews are among several other regional utilities that have been deployed to assist in the mutual aid effort.

One Avista crew from Spokane and a crew from Coeur d’Alene will travel more than 770 miles to Redding, California.  

The 10 vehicle, 12 person convoy left Avista’s Spokane’s office at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 1, arriving later that evening. They will join numerous other utilities from Washington and California who are also supporting the restoration efforts. The return date for the crews has not yet been determined.  

“We are extremely saddened to hear about the ongoing devastation the California wildfires continue to cause. Our condolences and prayers are with those affected,” said Heather Rosentrater, Vice President of Energy Delivery. “During a significant event such as this utilities come together to support each other. We received assistance during the 2015 windstorm and embraced the opportunity to provide support during Hurricane Irma. Now it’s time to extend the same support to our neighbors in California. We’re proud to join the restoration effort and we’re committed to restoring power as quickly and safely as possible to Pacific Gas and Electric customers.”

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