Hurricane Irma was a historic storm and utilities are coordinating a historic response. Approximately 5,000 cooperative workers from 25 states are converging on the hurricane’s impact zone to assist with restoration efforts. Affected co-ops took steps ahead of Irma’s landfall to prepare for restoration and those steps are helping to speed the process of reconnecting members to the grid.
At the request of Excelsior EMC, in Metter, Georgia, ten linemen and one mechanic from TCEC joined with crews from six other electric cooperatives in Oklahoma on Friday, September 8, to go to a staging area and prepare to assist with power restoration.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Southeast who are recovering from Hurricane Irma,” said TCEC Chief Executive Officer Zac Perkins. “We are also thinking of our linemen and their families while they are away.”
Electric cooperatives took a direct hit from the storm, and expect to be working to restore power for days or weeks. Peak outage estimates indicate that there were 760,000 co-op outages in Florida, 535,000 in Georgia, and 100,000 in South Carolina. The crew from TCEC will not return home until around September 22.
Co-ops restored power to more than 500,000 meters on September 12. They are working around the clock and making remarkable progress as they work to restore power in the wake of this catastrophic storm. Outage estimates as of September 13 at 10 a.m. Eastern are: 424,000 in Florida, 210,000 in Georgia, and 10,000 in South Carolina. These decreasing outage numbers highlight the resilience, preparedness and collaboration of electric cooperatives.