The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) announced on Wednesday that it has assembled public power crews from across the state to aid with power restoration efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Laura, which is slated to make landfall this week as a major hurricane.
Approximately 25 public power personnel from Tallahassee have already arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana, and another 80 are on their way to assist Lafayette Utilities System, a public power utility.
Crews from Gainesville Regional Utilities, JEA in Jacksonville, the Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach, Lakeland Electric, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority and Orlando Utilities Commission depart Wednesday morning and will complete the second leg of their trip to Lafayette on Thursday. They will join crews from the City of Tallahassee Electric Utility who arrived in Louisiana earlier this week in advance of Tropical Storm Marco.
“One of the many advantages of public power is our tightknit nationwide community of professionals who stand together and support fellow public power communities in times of crisis. While emergency response looks different this year as we navigate the pandemic, our top priority is to get the lights back on for those affected by Hurricane Laura as quickly and safely as possible,” said Amy Zubaly, the executive director of FMEA. “Additional precautionary measures and health guidelines in place due to COVID-19 will help crews return home safely to their communities and loved ones.”
Mutual aid crews will undergo routine health screenings, including temperature checks, to confirm they are fit for duty. Additionally, crews will maintain social distancing during daily briefings, in their lodging accommodations and during mealtimes, and will also wear proper PPE.
Mutual Aid Agreements enable electric utilities to call on each other for emergency workers and supplies.
FMEA represents the unified interests of 33 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than 3 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.