The Omaha Public Power District mutual aid crews that assisted with power restoration following Hurricane Irma have been released to return home. Half are already back in OPPD’s service territory; the rest are headed home today.
OPPD’s first group of 15 workers, including 12 linemen, two mechanics and a supervisor, headed to Tampa on Monday, Sept. 11. They arrived by midday Thursday, and got to work that afternoon. Tampa Electric, the utility they had partnered with, notified the team this morning that their help was no longer needed.
The second group of 15 workers left Tuesday morning, Sept., 12, arriving in Jacksonville by Friday, to assist Jacksonville Electric Authority. After two days of hard work in a great deal of humidity, the linemen and support staff in Jacksonville had accomplished their mission, restoring power to most customers. That team was dismissed from duty Sunday, Sept. 17, arriving back in OPPD’s service territory on Tuesday.
Released OPPD resources were offered to other Florida utilities before they began their journeys home; however, sufficient assistance was already positioned to restore power to customers who remained out.
In addition to these 30 employees, OPPD released 42 of its contracted tree trimmers to help with storm clean-up and providing clearance for utility workers. Ten of those tree trimmers remain in Florida, but they are expected to return home by this weekend.
The deployed OPPD employees volunteered to go help impacted Floridians in their time of need and were glad to be able to make a difference in the aftermath of such a destructive storm. All of OPPD’s costs associated with these mutual aid efforts will be reimbursed by Tampa Electric and Jacksonville Electric Authority.
You can read more about their experience on OPPD’s The Wire, and view photos of their efforts on our website, stormandoutage.com.