The Florida Municipal Electric Association said crews from several of its member utilities are helping get the lights back after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power for more than 500,000 people on the Gulf Coast.
The City of Tallahassee Electric Utility, JEA and the Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach are sending crews to Foley, Alabama, to help out Riviera Utilities.
Crews from Gainesville Regional Utilities and Orlando Utilities Commission will travel to Fairhope, Alabama, to assist the City of Fairhope Electric Utility.
Like the FMEA members sending backup, Riviera Utilities and Fairhope Electric Utility are public utilities
FMEA said it coordinated the deployments early Wednesday morning, ahead of Sally’s landfall as a Category 2 storm. All told, 90 workers from FMEA utilities will arrive in Alabama on Thursday.
The post-Sally assistance comes three weeks after seven FMEA utilities sent crews to Louisiana to provide mutual aid support to six public utilities restore power after Hurricane Laura.
“Public power communities are always ready to answer the call for mutual aid assistance. Just three weeks ago, each of the utilities now headed to Alabama also sent crews to Louisiana to provide aid after Hurricane Laura,” FMEA Executive Director Amy Zubaly said.
“It really demonstrates the level of dedication public power communities have to one another. Public power personnel across the nation take great pride in providing mutual aid and we are incredibly proud of our members who are sending help to Alabama so that those affected can get their power back on as quickly and safely as possible.”
FMEA also detailed the steps it’s taking to keep traveling crews healthy amid the pandemic, a goal it said was its top priority.
The organization said workers are undergoing routine health screenings and temperature checks. They will also wear personal protective equipment and follow social distancing guidelines during daily briefings, in their lodging accommodations and during mealtimes.
FMEA represents the 34 Florida public power communities that collectively provide electricity to more than 3 million residential and business consumers.