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News & Press: Electric

Missouri and Arkansas municipal utility crews return from Florida hurricane mission

Wednesday, October 17, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kerry Cordray
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Crews of municipal utility electric lineworkers from Missouri and Arkansas are returning from the Florida Panhandle, after a week of work to rebuild electric systems destroyed by Hurricane Michael.


Organized by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, lineworker crews from nine Missouri cities and one Arkansas city worked in Florida since Oct. 10, restoring power after the storm passed. The combined force of 47 municipal utility lineworkers involved line crews from the Missouri cities of Carthage, Columbia, Hannibal, Higginsville, Independence, Macon, Nixa, Poplar Bluff, and Waynesville, plus a crew from Conway, Arkansas.


The workers, equipped with bucket trucks, digger trucks, and other work vehicles, worked primarily on the Tallahassee system. The crews departed for Florida October 9th after coordinators for the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) issued a call to the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) for mutual aid assistance. 

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida Oct. 10 as a Category 4 hurricane. As of the morning of Oct. 11, Florida utilities reported 400,000 total outages, including more than 100,000 in the state capital of Tallahassee, where 96 percent of the city’s electric distribution system and 60 percent of the transmission system was down. By this morning (Oct. 16), the FMEA said power had been restored to 95 percent of Tallahassee electric customers.


The Missouri and Arkansas team were a large part of more than 200 public power personnel from 13 states assisting system recovery throughout the Gulf area.  The responding “public power” crews were from not-for-profit community-owned electric utilities that serve their individual cities, but also have agreements in place allowing staff to assist neighboring communities and states during widespread outages.


The mutual aid response from the Missouri and Arkansas public power utilities was coordinated through MPUA’s mutual aid network. Assisting cities are reimbursed by the municipal utilities receiving assistance. Nationally, mutual aid agreements organized through the American Public Power Association link more than 2,000 public power and rural electric cooperatives, so they can help each other in times of need.


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