In early November, an excavator dig-in caused a massive gas outage that left more than 36,000 customers in Idaho and Washington in the cold. The local utility provider, Avista, reported that this is the largest gas outage in the company’s history – and they needed help with the colossal restoration effort.
Without hesitation, 80 IBEW 1245 members from the PG&E Gas Service Department embarked on this critical mutual aid assignment.
“With a sense of duty, we quickly mobilized under the guidance of our leadership and our union. We embarked on a 16-hour journey to restore natural gas to the homes of these communities,” IBEW 1245 Shop Steward and PG&E Gas Service Rep Foster Goree reported. “Over the next few days, we worked tirelessly to provide these residents with heat and hot water. This large-scale operation was a great experience that made me truly appreciate the simplest things in life.”
“This being my first big outage, I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Daniel Flores-Sanchez, PG&E Gas Service Representative and IBEW 1245 Shop Steward. “The people of Washington and Idaho greeted us with open arms. It felt cool to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. The folks up there were so grateful for us to be there, they were stopping us at restaurants to say thanks and wished us safe travels home when the job was done.”
“The overwhelming gratitude from the community not only reassured me of the significant impact our union and its resources make, but also made me grateful for our dedicated team,” echoed Goree. “I also appreciate seeing the difference we made not only in restoring services, but also in terms of the difference we made to the locals. This was truly a great eye-opening experience.”