Area utility crews help restore power in San Diego |

Area utility crews help restore power in San Diego

Staff report

Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power Co. line crews, including a group from Carson City, will arrive in San Diego to help rebuild electric facilities destroyed by the wildfires in Southern California.

A total of 31 utility employees will be there for approximately three weeks to help restore electric service to nearly 20,000 San Diego Gas & Electric customers, said Karl Walquist, spokesman for Sierra Pacific.

Three, five-person line crews from Sierra Pacific – one each from Carson City, Reno and Fallon – along with three other crew members, left Northern Nevada on Thursday in company trucks carrying equipment and tools necessary to help repair damaged electric lines, transformers and other facilities, Walquist said.

In addition, a total of 13 workers from Nevada Power are scheduled to arrive on Saturday, he said.

“This type of work requires specialized training and our crews are certainly well equipped to assist in this emergency,” Michael Yackira, president and chief executive officer of Sierra Pacific Resources, parent company of Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power, said in a news release.

“We are in a position to lend a hand to our neighbors in California and are proud of how our employees and community continue to respond in these situations.”

Yackira added that Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power are able to provide support through a mutual assistance agreement that enables utilities to help one another during emergencies.

Sierra Pacific Power crews provided similar assistance following wildfires in Southern California in 2003. They also traveled to Orlando, Fla., in 2004 to assist with repair efforts following Hurricane Jeanne and to Portland, Ore., in 2006 to help rebuild lines after powerful winds knocked out service to thousands of customers served by Portland General Electric and Pacific Power.

Both Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power assessed needs for personnel in their own service areas in order to determine how many crews could be spared from regular duties.

Sierra Pacific is the electric utility for most of Northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. Sierra Pacific also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of Northern Nevada. Nevada Power is the electric utility for most of Southern Nevada.