Public power utility crews have been helping electric cooperatives in Florida restore power in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, which hit the state in late August.
“Florida public power is incredibly grateful for the more than 360 personnel from 58 utilities in Florida and from 13 other states including Alabama, Louisiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Iowa, along with hundreds of contractors and tree crews, that worked around the clock to restore power to more than 99.99% of public power customers within 48 hours of Hurricane Idalia making landfall,” said Amy Zubaly, Executive Director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association.
“After getting the lights back on in our own communities, public power again answered the call to help neighboring communities that are continuing to recover from the storm,” she said.
“While some of our mutual aid crews were released back to their hometowns, FMEA was happy to be able to redeploy some of our mutual aid crews, along with our own public power crews to assist other utilities as they restore power for communities in need,” Zubaly noted.
“We greatly appreciate the hard work of our lineworkers and all the mutual aid crews who spent long hours in the heat and humidity to get power flowing back to customers as quickly as they could and continue to do so for other utilities in need,” she said.
FMEA on Sept, 6 provided an overview of how public power utilities have assisted cooperatives with restoration efforts.
After initially deploying to help Florida public power utilities, crews from Riviera Utilities, the City of Fairhope and City of Troy Utilities -- all from Alabama – joined crews from Florida public power utility Gainesville Regional Utilities and the public power communities of the City of Newberry and City of Starke to help restore power to Central Florida Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Chiefland.
Since then, Central Florida Electric Cooperative has restored power and the original contingent of three Alabama and three Florida crews have been redeployed. Most all of those listed above -- both the Florida and Alabama crews (with the exception of Fairhope) -- were reassigned to Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative, based in Live Oak, Fla.
Meanwhile, the City of Fairhope, Ala., joined the City of Andalusia, Ala., to help Tri-County Electric Cooperative, based in Madison, Fla. Andalusia was already assisting TCEC after being released from Green Cove Springs, Fla., on day one.
In addition, AMP (Orville, Cuyahoga Falls, Westerville, Bowling Green, Wapokoneta, Bryan, Lebanon, Wadsworth and Piqua – all Ohio public power communities – and Wyandotte, MI); Paducah and Owensboro, KY; Lincoln Electric System, Grand Island, and OPPD, NE; Grand River Dam, Skiatook, and Edmond, OK; were all assigned to Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative as well after being released from Tallahassee, Fla.
Also after being released from Tallahassee, Louisiana public power utility Lafayette Utilities System, Florida public power utilities Orlando Utilities Commission, Lakeland Electric, and the Kissimmee Utility Authority joined Tallahassee crews and were all deployed to help Tri-County Electric Cooperative.
More than 300 public power personnel were helping Tri-County Electric Cooperative and Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative -- the two hardest hit utilities, FMEA reported on Sept.6.
And after Florida-based public power utility JEA in Jacksonville restored power to its customers, their crews traveled to Georgia to help investor-owned Georgia Power with its restoration efforts.