Mansfield Electric director Gary Babin said that good preparation was key in the minimal damage and loss of service in Mansfield during Sandy.
He said that, out of the 36 calls for loss of electricity, 25 of them were related to one incident on Lakeview Avenue and were only out of service for an hour and 45 minutes. He said the municipal electricity system Mansfield has in place was crucial for the quick service.
“One of the things that we have is more people that can work in a smaller area,” Babin said. “Also, most of our employees are residents, some grew up in Mansfield, so they’re good at getting around town and can often anticipate what will occur.”
Babin said that, throughout the year, Mansfield Electric and the Department of Public Works also work together to reduce the amount of low-hanging branches and other tress and that may cause any issues.
“We minimize that problem by aggressively tree trimming throughout the town,” he said. “We put an awful lot of money in our distribution system and do a lot of tree trimming.”
During the storm, Babin said that manpower and allocation of resources is crucial.
“Preparations for going into a storm is making sure we have the staff on hand to handle it, making sure the trucks are properly equipped and making sure we have food available for workers,” he said. “So that being hungry is not something they have to worry about it… Mostly what we focus on is the logistics on how it might play out.”
He added that, during Tropical Storm Irene, 7,250 residents were affected by the storm, mainly because of tree damage. Most of the power outages were cleared up in 48 hours.
“What also happens is when you have a couple of storms like we did last year, it tends to get rid of all the weak lumber,” he said.