National Grid planting trees in Capital Region 1 year after devastating storm

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NISKAYUNA – Laurie Poltynski, a regional executive for National Grid, remembers Oct. 7, 2020, very clearly.

"The storm we had last October was a huge storm. It was devastating. When you work for a utility, you remember your career and the milestones of your career by the worst of your storms," Poltynski said. "My entire team will remember this storm."

The derecho storm brought strong wind gusts to the Capital Region, which led to dozens of downed trees, power lines, and more than 200,000 customers without power.

"As it relates to the number of customers that were out, this was the largest we’ve seen in over ten years," Poltynski explained.

As hard hit places like Schenectady County cleaned up, National Grid knew it wanted to help the region bounce back.

"There was so much tree damage that we wanted to do something more long-lasting than just restoring power to customers," she said.

The company’s Capital Region Tree Program, established after the derecho, is providing $240,000 to Schenectady, Rensselaer and Albany counties to help bring back trees that were lost during the storm.

National Grid has been partnering with each community to get trees in the ground and on Thursday, the final of 40 trees was planted on Dean Street in Niskayuna. County officials say they couldn’t be more thrilled.

"This is a great way to help combat climate change, to identify areas that may need investment and more beautification," said Sara Mae Pratt with the Schenectady County Legislature.