Crews are still reconnecting customers and rebuilding the grid in the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Carolinas after hurricanes Michael and Florence.
The public power utilities were a big part of that effort, contributing mutual aid from across the nation to help rebuild Florida’s municipal systems destroyed by Michael’s 125-MPH winds and rain. A recent thank-you letter by Amy Zubaly, director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association, highlighted those heroic efforts by the American Public Power Association’s mutual aid crews.
At Michael’s worst, more than 400,000 public power customers were without service. Tallahassee alone had 95 percent of its customers, or 113,000, without power while also losing 60 percent of its transmission.
Havana, Quincy, Chattahoochee and Bloutsdown were 100 percent in the dark, Zubaly noted. She expressed gratitude for the help that, for the most part, is now heading home.
“Once again, working through the APPA mutual aid network, FMEA put out a long-range call for mutual aid assistance and public power responded immediately. More than 600 personnel from 16 states and more than 80 utilities came to help restore power and rebuild the electric grid in those communities,” Zubaly wrote. “Thousands of people’s lives were forever changed on October 10th and it will take some time to fully rebuild the communities that were so severely devastated.”
Tallahassee and Havana are up and running, while the other three public power cities are still working on rebuilding and restoration.
“FMEA extends our heartfelt appreciation to everyone that reached out to help us and our neighbors, especially to all the lineworkers who suffered through some difficult situations to come to our aid and help restore power to our communities,” Zubaly concluded.“Words cannot describe how incredibly grateful we are to each and every one of you. Thank you.”