Juno Beach, FL -- More than 300 Florida Power & Light Company workers are helping provide emergency restoration assistance to states severely impacted by violent storms that recently hit the Midwest and mid-Atlantic region. One team traveled from West Palm Beach to Maryland to help Pepco, a Washington D.C. utility, with its restoration efforts.
“Our travel team moved quickly and arrived on site without incident,” said FPL deputy incident commander T.L. Winder. “Once we got settled at the expansive staging site, our crews were given a safety briefing by Pepco and set out to evaluate the damage and start helping with the restoration.”
FPL’s response is part of the mutual assistance network in which utilities around the country provide assistance following major natural disasters. FPL crews and equipment were dispatched to Ohio, Maryland and Virginia, to aid in their restoration efforts after a powerful line of thunderstorms, with gusts between 60 and 90 mph, caused significant destruction that left millions of people without power. Before deploying crews, FPL works to ensure that its customers are taken care of and resources are available should any outages affect our service territory.
For FPL Incident Commander Jim Bush, he'd seen this devastation before when called to help with restoration efforts following Hurricane Rita in Texas. “This is very similar to hurricane-type damage. There’s extensive destruction with lots of trees down among the poles and lines,” he explained. “We're working on the feeder backbone first, and then focus on getting the power back on in the neighborhoods.”
The FPL crews are working 16-hour days, through the July Fourth holiday, focused on getting the job done. Bush, an Army veteran, says he can't think of a better way to celebrate the Fourth than helping others in their time of need.
“The customers we talk to are excited to see us out working on restoring the power and are glad there’s literally a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Bush.
The hilly terrain of Maryland is presenting some challenges for the Florida-based crew. “We had one team working on a 50-foot pole on the side of a steep hill that was engulfed in vegetation,” said Winder. “They're not accustomed to the elevation changes they have here, but the crew succeeded in getting the job done right and doing it safely.”
“When called into action, we're eager to assist, after all, the situation could have easily been reversed with FPL needing the help after a major storm,” said Bush. “It's a great team effort and we're glad we could lend a hand.”
For photos of the restoration effort visit: http://www.fpl.com/newsroom
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