UPDATE: Due to additional requests for assistance from Jacksonville Electric and Florida Power and Light, OPPD will be sending an additional 15 employees including 12 line technicians, two mechanics and a supervisor, to aid in power outage restoration efforts in Florida. We have also released an additional 10 contracted tree trimmers to help provide clearance and debris removal.
This makes for a total manpower team of 72, including 30 employees and 42 tree trimmers. The first group of OPPD employees that left this morning are due to arrive in Florida by midday Thursday. The second group, leaving tomorrow, should arrive by midday Friday.
Omaha Public Power District sent nearly 47 linemen and contracted tree crews to Florida to assist electric utilities with the daunting task of restoring power to millions of customers impacted by Hurricane Irma.
Support staff includes four 3-person crews, plus two mechanics and a supervisor, as well as 32 contracted tree trimmers that OPPD released to provide necessary clean-up and clearance in order to complete repairs. Half of the tree crews left Monday. The other half are awaiting assignments, but plan to leave today.
OPPD’s line team left early this morning from various locations within our service territory in 14 vehicles including pick-up trucks, bucket trucks and digger derricks. They met up in Rockport, Mo., forming a caravan and then headed south together. They will be working with Tampa Electric Company to determine where help is most-needed. Their work could take them to the service territories of multiple utilities, and they will stay as long as they are needed.
“The damage caused by this hurricane is catastrophic,” said Mo Doghman, Vice President-Energy Delivery and Chief Compliance Officer for OPPD. “The impacted utilities need all the help they can get right now. We are glad to lend our people and their talents to assist with this massive recovery effort.”
This effort is coordinated by the Midwest Mutual Assistance Group, offering support across jurisdictional boundaries during widespread power outages. Under these mutual aid agreements, all costs incurred by companies that provide support are reimbursed by utilities receiving help.
Crews from as far away as Alabama assisted OPPD following the destructive storm June 16, which knocked out power to 76,500 customers.
Typically, OPPD’s mutual aid efforts are limited to within 500 miles of our service territory; however, exceptions made for certain catastrophic events, or situations where our crews unique set of skills are needed. Such was the case with Hurricane Sandy in 2012, where utilities needed crews capable of working on network protectors and making repairs in underground vaults. OPPD also supported Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts in 2005.