Hurricane Isaias Restoration Efforts — NJ, PA, MA, VT, IL, NY & CT

August 2020

The Atlantic hurricane season in 2020 was one for the history books. In late July to early August Hurricane Isaias and a system of derecho storms provided a one-two punch to the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions. Hurricane Isaias caused extensive damage across the East Coast. Around the same time, dangerous tornados and storms, called a derecho, caused widespread destruction across Chicago and the Midwest. With Isaias producing sustained winds up to 85 mph, the storms decimated local infrastructure, leaving over 2 million customers without power in the New York–New Jersey–Connecticut tri-state area alone.

 

As both events gathered steam, Riggs Distler went to work planning our response. As a leading storm and emergency restoration services provider, we partnered with several of the East Coast’s largest and most important power providers to quickly repair the damaged power networks and restore power for millions of customers from New Jersey to Maine. At the peak of our efforts, Riggs Distler mobilized more than 350 full-time employees and 300 vehicles to respond to damage resulting from the hurricane, as well as 75 full-time employees responding to the derecho storms in the Midwest. Specific work included:

  • Storm preparation and delivery of equipment
  • Circuit, substation, and distribution line restoration
  • Hazard clearing
  • Pole stripping
  • Repairing and raising downed transmission and distribution lines

Challenges Overcome

Riggs Distler’s primary concern during all storm restoration work is safety. Working in after-storm environments with downed power lines, inaccessible or obstructed site access, and uncertain conditions requires care and communication. Our supervisors worked closely with the host utilities and other construction contractors operating in the area to devise safe and efficient solutions to restoring power. Despite extensive damage and a lack of local resources, Riggs Distler’s crews worked swiftly to remove hazards, repair poles and substation infrastructure, and restore transmission and distribution line service.

Results Delivered

Riggs Distler’s size and experience allows us to respond to emergencies as needed and without delay, going where many firms couldn’t go to repair the power grid and restore vital services. Thanks to proactive planning, we were able to deploy crews, trucks, and heavy equipment to troubled areas immediately after Hurricane Isais and its aftermath cleared. Our teams worked tirelessly, 16 hours a day and 7 days a week, to restore service for our utility clients and their customers. Riggs Distler is proud to be the utility and power industry’s on-call watchguard for storm damage throughout the Eastern region.