Powering Strong Communities

Public power mutual aid efforts ramp up with Tropical Storm Isaias power outages

Public power mutual aid activities kicked into high gear on Aug. 5 as Tropical Storm Isaias churned up the East Coast and knocked out power to millions of customers for investor-owned utilities, cooperatives and public power utilities.

The Department of Energy on the morning of Aug. 5 reported that Tropical Storm Isaias caused significant power outages across the East Coast, from North Carolina to Maine, on Aug. 4.

“Damage assessments and restoration efforts are underway throughout the region. Mutual Assistance and contract crews are supporting the restorations. Significant restoration progress has been made in the areas initially impacted by Isaias, including North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware,” DOE reported.

As of 7:30 AM EDT on August 5, there were approximately 3.1 million customer power outages along the East Coast related to Isaias, it said. “Restoration efforts are underway across the affected area. Fluctuation in the outage numbers is expected and normal during large-scale restoration efforts,” DOE said.

Public power mutual aid and power restoration activities

North Carolina’s Wilson Energy on the morning of Aug. 5 sent two electric line crews to Washington (NC) Electric Utilities to help restore power. “Our folks are already at work and are expected to be back home tonight,” the City of Wilson noted in a tweet.

Other public power utilities in North Carolina reported progress in terms of restoration.

For example, the City of New Bern reported that all power had been restored and offered thanks on its Facebook page to the City of Statesville, N.C., and the City of High Point, N.C., “for helping our crews repair lines & restore outages.”

The Northeast Public Power Association reported that the following public power utilities had requested and received mutual aid assistance: Norwich, Conn., Wallingford, Conn., Chicopee, Mass., Holyoke, Mass., Westfield, Mass., and South Hadley, Mass.

The following public power utilities responded to the requests for help:


Groveland Municipal Light Department

Rowley Municipal Lighting Plant

Hingham Municipal Light Plant

Marblehead Municipal Light Department

Merrimac Municipal Light Department

Georgetown Municipal Light Department

Groton Electric Light Department

Middleton Electric Light Department

Braintree Electric Light Department

Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant

Littleton Electric Light & Water Departments

Mansfield Municipal Electric Department

Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department

West Boylston Municipal Lighting Plant

Westfield has two buckets coming from Massena, N.Y. (Massena Electric Department)

Braintree Electric Light Department sent mutual aid crews on Aug. 5 to help Connecticut’s Wallingford Electric Division help restore power to that public power community.

Connecticut public power utility Norwich Public Utilities said that as of noon on Aug. 5, it had approximately 2,500 customers out of service, which was down from a peak of more than 6,500 on the night of Aug. 4 and 4,000 earlier in the day on Aug. 5.

“At this time, we project that we will be able to restore power for at least 1,500 additional customers today,” the utility said on Aug. 5.

Norwich Public Utilities reported that it continued to address heavy tree damage throughout Norwich, noting that it had approximately 15 utility poles that were damaged and must be repaired or replaced.

Mutual aid crews from Massachusetts had arrived and were working to restore power for our customers.

Three AMP member communities respond to call for mutual aid

American Municipal Power reported that it had three member communities responding to the call for mutual aid assistance in the City of Vineland. N.J.:

  • Dover, Ohio is sending 6 crew members, 3 bucket trucks, 1 digger derrick
  • Tipp City, Ohio is sending 3 crew members and 1 bucket truck
  • Quakertown, Pa. is sending 3 crew members and 1 Bucket truck

Crews were arriving Aug. 5 and were expected to be in New Jersey for the next two to three days restoring service from a number of downed power poles. 

Meanwhile, crew members from Berlin, Md., were headed to Dover, Delaware, to provide mutual aid.