OG&E deployed 95 line restoration personnel to Florida on Monday to assist with power restoration as Hurricane Ian approaches the United States. The storm gained strength Monday morning and is projected to pass the west-central coast of Florida midweek.
At 6 a.m. Monday, a contingent of over 60 OG&E trucks carrying 95 linemen and support staff departed from a staging area in Shawnee. The group planned to arrive in Jackson, Mississippi Monday night and then proceed to a staging area in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday. There, the crew members will prepare for expected power outages in the storm.
For OG&E Storm Manager Kenny McKinzie, this power restoration effort in Florida will be his last mutual assistance deployment. McKinzie plans to retire from OG&E at the end of this year after nearly four decades with the company and leading over a dozen mutual assistance teams.
“It means so much to me to take these guys out there. It is a privilege to go to the devastated areas impacted by the storm and help people get their lights back on. There is a lot of pride in what this team can accomplish and in doing what we do,” said McKinzie.
OG&E was requested by Tampa Electric for additional support.
“We are thankful for our dedicated crews who leave behind their own families to help restore power in other communities when they need us most. We understand the importance of having access to electricity, and OG&E stands ready to lend our resources and expertise to restore power to Tampa Electric’s customers should Hurricane Ian impact their electric service,” said Andrea Dennis, OG&E Vice President of Transmission & Distribution Operations.
“Our electric utility partners never hesitate to answer the call when we face severe weather events here in our own service area, and OG&E is honored to return the favor.”
OG&E is a member of the Midwest Mutual Assistance and Southeast Electrical Exchange, which dispatches mutual assistance teams in cases of widespread outages. Companies impacted by major outage events increase the size of their workforce by using restoration workers from other companies in unaffected areas.
OG&E’s mutual assistance crews are typically deployed for up to 14 days. The company will send additional support if needed. Even as the team deploys to Florida, OG&E will have the capacity to support daily operations for customers in its service areas.