If You Think Utility Workers Live A Different Life Than You, Think Again
HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — If you lost power during Hurricane Sandy or the nor’easter that hit our area you’re probably not feeling too charitable about towards utility company.
But many of their workers are in the same boat you are.
They have no power and are working 16-hour days to make sure your outages are fixed, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.
PSE&G’s Mike Giardina is in many ways powerful. His job is to help fix the damage from the storms that hit our area and get your home up and running.
He does it cheerfully, even though he, himself, is powerless. His home at the Jersey Shore was inundated with three feet of water, so he can’t live there.
“Living in a hotel, driving back and forth to Point Pleasant when I have a chance,” Giardina said.
And he doesn’t have much chance to do that. His shift starts at 6:30 a.m. and he if he leaves at 10 p.m., that’s early.
“My life’s been work, you know? In order to have what I have at home I have to have this job, so it’s been stressful. It’s been long days, but this is what we do,” Giardina said.
But he has the same concerns, the same worries as the people he’s trying to help.
“Will it ever be back the way it was? Will it be normal again? You know, rebuilding takes a while something I, a younger guy, never had to do before,” Giardina said.
And Giardina is not the only one at PSE&G living in the dark. Bob Blache said he didn’t have power for eight days.
“It was cold. It was harder on my family, but we did have heat in one part of the house, so we all huddled in that one room,” Blache said.
Mike Schmid’s power came back on Wednesday, only to go off again after the snowstorm hit.
“It was a real large high when the power came on. Everyone started celebrating and then when I left for work my wife was back into that mode of when is it going to come back on again?” Schmid said.
So the lesson here is that PSE&G workers are suffering along with everybody else.
PSE&G TO THE RESCUE
Gas workers walked the streets of Hoboken Thursday, going house by house to inspect equipment. They found that wearing the company’s distinctive logo has its ups and downs.
These utility workers found that you can sometimes do the unexpected. Just ask Susan Gala, whose newly renovated home was flooded with two feet of water.
“We had no idea that the Hudson River would be rushing through on the terrace,” Gala said.
The water did a lot of damage.
“The flooring has to be removed. Half of the sheet rock has to be removed. All the mold has to be removed. All my brand new appliances, it’s devastating in so many ways,” Gala said.
After living with no heat and hot water for 10 days, Gala was at first less than enthusiastic when a crew from PSE&G came to her door asking to check her gas connections, her boiler and her water heater. She thought the team would condemn her equipment.
Enter Mike Martucci, who noticed something unusual. All of Gala’s controls were on top of the boiler. There was a decent chance the flood water didn’t get in.
So Martucci got to work.
“Right here is the gas control. The water only got this high, so we’re going to see if it fires while I’m here and it fires she’s good,” Martucci told Kramer.
It turned out that Martucci’s intuition was correct. He got the gas lit and the boiler running. But when asked how often he has a success story like this, he said, “Down here? Not too much.”
“This is a miracle. This really is. This is a miracle that you came to my door today, all of you. I can’t thank you enough,” Gala said.
PSE&G said it still had 12,000 more homes to check and it was hoping it has more happy endings like what happened on Thursday.
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