(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) - If only getting heat were as simple as the "Honk for Heat" sign one Long Island resident held during a protest Saturday of the Long Island Power Authority, then frustration would not be as fueled in the northeast.
LIPA's chief operating officer stepped down Tuesday, the company said, as power outages stretched into a 3rd week following superstorm Sandy and a subsequent nor'easter.
"My house was black, the kids were frantic; I have no heat, it's just been crazy," expressed one New York father.
Power companies across the country, including those from South Alabama, sent their best teams to help with restoration, navigating through a web of wire and debris. In addition to the manpower, another much needed supply came from Alabama. It's importance is often overlooked.
"A lot of people do not think of a utility pole," Baldwin Pole & Piling Co. President Archie McMillan told Local 15 News, "It's one of those hidden things, people just don't understand until there's a disaster like this."
McMillan also said people may not realize Alabama's value to the industry. Southern yellow pine is the timber of choice, he said, and is plentiful in places from Birmingham to Bay Minette, where McMillan's company is based.
"We are very pleased to help, we do get a good feeling." McMillan said Baldwin Pole sent upwards of 2,000 poles to the northeast, small in comparison he said to the supply sent from areas near Birmingham.
According to the North American Wood Pole Council, suppliers will have sent nearly as many poles to the northeast as they did in 2005 after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "It's not just running out there and trying to get business for ourselves, all of the companies in the business we're in work together to supply poles to help the people in need."
While McMillan was more than glad to help, he said getting the poles to the area was the easy part. It's getting them up and getting the power back that requires the real heavy lifting.