Plant-outage workers fuel towns' economic reactors

Shippingport, Pennsylvania, home to Beaver Valley Power Station, relishes the economic boom it gets when maintenance workers converge on the town during scheduled station outages.
Shippingport, Pennsylvania, home to Beaver Valley Power Station, relishes the economic boom it gets when maintenance workers converge on the town during scheduled station outages. | Contributed photo
Not every team of outage workers can boast about being “a well-starched crew,” but that’s exactly how Monaca Comfort Suites general manager Carol Portis describes her occasional guests, thanks to her above-and-beyond services for outage workers who travel to the Pennsylvania town.

Because nuclear power plants have planned refueling and maintenance outages requiring teams to come in once every 18 to 24 months, various echelons of workers descend on communities like Monaca and Lake Anna, Virginia, on a regular, semi-annual basis, creating a specialized niche market for the local hospitality industry.

The Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, draws teams regularly, enabling hotels and restaurants to realize a surge in sales. Beaver Valley has several hotels. In North Anna, a more remote resort area, many workers choose to rent out some of the available vacation homes during the off-season, local residents said.

Real estate agent Terri Moberly praises the Lake Anna community for its laid-back atmosphere. The nuclear station is able to maintain a subtle visual presence thanks to lagoons, which provide cooling water, sparing the landscape from distracting cooling towers. Some older outage workers even continue to return to the area with their families to vacation.

Portis said outage workers represent the largest dependable business sector for Monaca Comfort Suites. Portis serves the crews breakfast early and even collects their work clothes for laundry runs.

While Portis may be an exceptional innkeeper, graciousness surely can’t hurt any crew’s morale. In turn, these visiting-work-force cycles boost local economies. All told, outage workers create a significant positive impact on the hospitality industry.

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Monaca Comfort Suites 1523 Old Brodhead Rd Monaca, PA - 15061

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