A team of 95 OG&E linemen and support personnel are assisting with power restoration in Melbourne, a community located in southeast Florida, after Hurricane Ian left behind heavy flooding, widespread power outages and extensive damage.
OG&E Manager of Distribution Construction and Storm Response Lead Chad Guthrie is supporting the team’s restoration efforts. The fleet of 60 trucks and 95 personnel arrived in Orlando on Tuesday night and rode out the storm until late Thursday when they were assigned to provide mutual assistance in Melbourne.
According to Tampa Electric’s outage map, Ian caused power outages to more than 160,000 customers in its service area as of Friday afternoon. Guthrie added that powerful winds caused major destruction that uprooted trees and downed power poles and lines. Despite challenging conditions, the crews are working 16-hour shifts picking up electrical conductors destroyed by damaging winds and restoring electricity to southeastern Floridians.
“Due to the high amount of rainfall over the past few days, there was a lot of saturation in the area that’s created a bit of a challenge for our team,” Guthrie said. “It’s taken longer than usual to get the personnel and equipment to critical service areas. Thankfully, the rain is starting to dry up a bit, and today we’ve been able to really dive in with our restoration efforts.”
OG&E provided its assistance to Tampa Electric through its membership in the Midwest Mutual Assistance and Southeast Electrical Exchange, which dispatches mutual assistance teams in cases of widespread outages. The crews are expected to be in Florida for the next two weeks and the company will send additional support if needed.
“Assisting restoration teams in areas that have experienced natural disasters is central to OG&E’s mission of energizing our neighbors near and far,” Guthrie said. “When it comes to restoring power and dealing with the aftermath of destructive storms, our crews have invaluable knowledge, expertise and resources. It’s an honor and privilege to help in any way we can.”
As restoration efforts continue in Florida, OG&E is maintaining daily support and operations throughout its service areas in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Source: OGE press release