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Electrical Contractors Welcome Passage of Storm Emergency Aid Legislation

Jan 16, 2013

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) commends members of the House of Representatives who voted to approve a long-awaited $50.6 billion disaster assistance package that will help Northeastern states rebuild infrastructure, homes, and communities damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

“Our hope now is that the House and the Senate can reach swift agreement on a final package so that people living in the states hurt by this terrible storm can finally begin the next phase of their recovery and rebuilding,” said Marco Giamberardino, NECA executive director, government affairs.

NECA members include high-voltage line contractors who are often among the first-responders when disaster strikes. They are responsible for restoring power safely and quickly to critical infrastructure across the Northeast, including downed power lines, flooded electric substations, damaged generators, destroyed utilities, powerless clean water and waste water facilities, and a vulnerable electrical grid. NECA’s line contractors are continuing to work to safely restore power to homes, as well as commercial and industrial facilities, such as hospitals and other emergency service facilities.

“Getting the power back on the generally the first step to restoring a sense of normalcy to a community,” said Michael Johnston, NECA executive director, standards and safety. “This is especially crucial during the winter months, when homes and schools need to be heated. NECA line contractors work quickly, but methodically. It’s hazardous work often done under difficult conditions.” [Watch NECA line workers in action following the storm on NECA Newscast.]

The House-approved measure includes money for immediate repairs and planning longer-term storm-protection measure. Construction-related funding includes projects that will address aging and under-maintained infrastructure that has not kept up with demand.

“Helping our country’s citizens and their communities after a natural disaster on the scale of Superstorm Sandy is one of the most basic functions of the federal government. We are grateful for the effort made to get this legislation finally passed,” Giamberardino said. “NECA is especially pleased to see the investments made in long-term reconstruction and storm protection in the bill. Our country’s national electrical grid is aging, and the grid is what powers innovation and a growing economy. We need to invest in and protect it so it will continue to serve us well, and NECA will continue to demonstrate its importance to Members of Congress.”

More information about power restoration and disaster response can be found on NECA’s website.

About NECA: NECA is the voice of the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light, and communication technology to buildings and communities across the U.S. NECA contractors help customers achieve their goals for energy conservation, efficiency and renewable power. NECA’s national office and 119 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development. For more information, visit www.necanet.org.