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Thousands of workers arrive on Cape Cod to help restore power; meals served at military base

Jennette Barnes
Doug Frazier, director of field training for Eversource, and Kenny Tyler, the company's manager for material logistics in Massachusetts, talk near some of the transformers being staged in the Falmouth Mall parking lot for the restoration of power to Cape Cod following Wednesday's nor'easter.

Thousands of line workers have come from around the Northeast and Canada to help restore power after Wednesday’s nor’easter.

Hotels have filled up, and Joint Base Cape Cod has opened its doors to help feed and house workers, said Eversource CEO Joe Nolan.

He said 30,000 meals a day are being served to employees and other crews that have come to help.

“We have 9,300 talented employees [who] have come in from New Hampshire; they've come in from Connecticut,” he said. “We've got crews that came in from Canada, from all across the country, to come here and help us. And, you know, we're very, very proud of them.”

Crews are working day and night.

“We've got this area broken down, almost to 10 different zones,” he said. “Everyone is working. There's a good competitive environment going on. So the crews, everybody wants to outdo the other area.”

He said two employees were injured when a tree snapped, but they’re going to be OK.

On Thursday, Eversource said that by sundown, customers would be notified of when power was likely to be restored to their individual areas.

The parking lot at the Falmouth Mall is serving as a staging area for transformers and other electrical parts for the massive effort to restore electricity to the remaining 150,000 customers who were still without electricity Thursday evening.

The staging area also has trailers serving as management offices.

“We break the crews up into manageable sizes, and we establish these restoration management teams,” said Doug Frazier, director of field training for Eversource. “So hopefully you don't see the crews in here too frequently, because we want them out actually restoring power.”

Stacked near the transformers were pallets of gray “cross arms” — the horizontal beam at the top of a utility pole. Frazier said Eversource now uses composite cross arms because they’re more durable than wood.

Nolan said he expects power to be restored to 98% of Eversource customers by 6 p.m. Saturday.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.