The work load has been non-stop for the crews of Bear Valley Electric, who have been addressing downed power poles (since five of them were sheared in strong winds on Monday, January 18), electric outages, heavy snow and tree limbs on power lines, and riser repair reconnects for 11 days but, per Operations Manager Ken Markling today, “We are in pretty good shape. All known customers without power have been restored. All of our known outages were taken care of by Wednesday and Thursday, so now we’re doing the mop up of odds and ends. We still have a couple locations where we know we have trouble, up in the U.S. Forest lease cabins, so we’re working on those.” The 13 employees that make up the electric company’s four crews in the field have, this week, been assisted by mutual aid crews dispatched from Southern California Edison and PAR Electric to deal with the overwhelming amount of work to be done Valley-wide. “It’s been almost 10 years since we called in mutual aid,” Markling tells KBHR, “but nothing on this scale. On two other occasions, in the past 15-20 years, but this is the longest mutual aid request we’ve ever had.” Markling notes that meter readers and office staff of Bear Valley Electric were also sent out into the field with repair crews. He adds, “With the loaner crews, we put a BVES employee with each of them, for directions, materials, as runners. So, we had everybody out working, which further diluted our work force.” Four of the seven visiting crews were released yesterday, and all but one is still in town today. “We’re going to keep them around,” Markling says, “in case we get some new calls from weekenders coming into town today. We’ll probably get those kinds of calls into Memorial Day—not in large numbers, but from people arriving to their weekend homes for the first time. We’ve seen that in the past, even into Fourth of July, because often times they can’t get to their cabins, especially in those Forest lease cabins, until the snow melts.” Though the core crew of 13, which Markling says was quarterbacked by Operations Supervisor John Dykesten, worked until about 9pm last night, Markling adds, “By and large, we have had nothing but community support–cards and letters, and cookies—and it’s really been appreciated. It’s really what sustained the guys out there, knowing they have the support and patience of the community.” Should you have electric service concerns, or find you have an outage upon arrival to your home, please call Bear Valley Electric Service at 909/866-4678.
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