EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 1, 2012

Canadian power crews arrive to help with restoration

Crews arrive from Canada to help with utility restoration in N.H.

Bienvenue, Hydro Quebec crews.

With tens of thousands of residents still without power yesterday evening, Public Service of New Hampshire welcomed 75 two-man crews yesterday. Some stopped off in the North Country, spokesman Martin Murray said.

But about 15 trucks, each with two workers, arrived in Manchester to be briefed before they headed across Southern New Hampshire to help repair damage from Sandy and get the lights back on.

As of 5 p.m. PSNH still had 37,506 customers awaiting restoration.

Windham, particularly hard hit, still had 71.5 percent of the utility’s customers waiting to get back online. To compound the frustration, the percentages there had dropped to just under 59 percent at 3 p.m.

Despite some serious tree-trimming efforts by all New Hampshire utilities this summer and fall, branches and trees knocked down by Sandy pulled down wires around the state. Trees also crushed cars and punched holes in houses.

That means companies like Happy Trees in Pelham have plenty of work.

A year ago, company owner Victor Paliy said he worked for the town for about four months, cleaning up from the heavy October snowstorm.

“Right now, I’m basically working from 7 a.m. until 4 o’clock for the town,” Paliy said yesterday, “and I’m going to do private work for residential customers.”

But all the downed trees don’t mean a ready supply of firewood, most are pine, which isn’t great for that purpose.

Most of the fallen trees will be chipped for mulch or fuel.

Pine trees are softwoods and full of moisture, according to Fred Borman, a forestry expert for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

Many towns will pick up brush or allow residents to drop it off at their transfer facilities.

But residents who have trees down, should call in the experts, Borman warned.

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