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Thunder Bay powerline workers sent to New York state

Crew of 14 is helping to restore power after Nor'easter tore through
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Thunder Bay-based powerline worker Geoff Miller and his crew are getting hugs and baked goods from grateful New York State residents knocked off the grid by a ferocious storm on Friday.

"I don't need any more muffins," Miller joked during a  phone interview Monday with tbnewswatch.com.

He's leading a team of a dozen lineworkers from Gridlink, a Thunder Bay utility contractor helping to restore service to customers of Central Hudson Utility Group.

The crew arrived in the Kingston, NY area—south of the state capital of Albany— Sunday night after a long drive from Thunder Bay with 10 five-ton trucks and three other vehicles including off-road track-equipped vehicles.

The powerful Nor'easter that hit the U.S. east coast blew trees onto power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands of customers in half a dozen states without electricity.

"Customers we're meeting are very happy. We get lots of praise. When we come up their driveway with a bucket-truck they come out running out smiling," Miller said.

He initially expected to be in New York for about a week, but that was before news of another big storm expected to bring heavy snow to the area late Tuesday and into Wednesday.

"Depending on the level of that storm, and another one that may come on the weekend, we could be here for two weeks to a month."

On Monday, the Thunder Bay crew was anticipating being dispatched next to the Poughkeepsie area before being sent east toward New York City.

Gridlink vice-president Bart Foglia said the company has a history of assisting Central Hudson Utility with storm recovery, having sent lineworkers to the U.S. after Hurricane Sandy's devastation in 2012.

Foglia said "it's nice" to have the extra work, but the company consults with its local clients first before agreeing to take it on, as it may require stretching the schedule for some projects in northwestern Ontario.