Rebuilding utilities in hurricane-affected areas of the gulf coast could take months, and thousand of workers. Mark Reinders, spokesman for Mid American Energy, says so far, they haven’t been called to come help. They have not had any official requests yet from any utilities affected in the hurricane areas, so at this point MidAmerican isn’t sending any crews. One thing the power company has done is release “contracting employees.” The utility has employees on contract year-round to help with extra construction, damage restoration and other work, he explains. They’ve been released from contract for as long as they need to go down there. Reinders says if their help is requested, the company will do all it can to assist as long as it doesn’t have to give up the ability to serve its own customers back here. “We have agreements like that a lot with the neighboring states,” Reinders notes. For example, Kansas City Power and Light suffered a big ice storm last winter and needed some extra crews so MidAmerican sent down workers, and has an agreement that the K-C utility will respond in kind if we needed help here. He says southern Kansas is as far as they have sent crews to help in the past. Nebraska Public Power, a publicly-owned utility in the Husker state, last week sent a crew and several trucks to the area to help out.
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