Crews deploy to help

Published 2:25 am Friday, October 12, 2018

Electrical crews from Andalusia Utilities and Covington Electric Cooperative have deployed to help systems ravaged by Hurricane Michael restore power to storm victims.

Andalusia Utilities Electric Manager Jeff Puckett and a crew of five left for Quincey, Fla., Thursday morning to assist in storm relieve. They took two bucket trucks and a digger truck.

He was joined by Phillip Shiver, Noel Wheeler, Chris Martin, Larry Nichols, and Corey Gilbert.

Covington Electric sent a crew of lineman, along with equipment, to assist Wiregrass Electric Co-op Thursday morning.

“Co-ops always help one another in times of need and this is definitely one of those times,” CEC General Manager Ed Short said.

CEC had 4,465 members without power at the height of the storm’s impact here Wednesday. Power outages were reported in Coffee, Covington, Geneva, Dale and Crenshaw counties. CEC service crews worked the outages as they occurred throughout the storm.

But by Wednesday night, most of that power had been restored.

CEC had contract crews staged in Covington County to assist with restoration efforts in the event Hurricane Michael caused extensive damag. CEC released them Thursday morning to assist other utilities that were severely impacted by the storm.

“Our neighboring co-ops in Florida and east Alabama were hit very hard by this hurricane and it’s going to take days, if not weeks, for those systems to restore service to their members,” Short said. “Talquin Electric Co-op headquartered in Quincy, Fla., has approximately 49,000 members without electricity at this time. That’s about 99 percent of their entire system. Wiregrass Electric headquartered in Hartford, Ala., has also experienced massive damage to their infrastructure. Last night they reported 17,500 members without power and had lost transmission feeds to five of their substations. Seventy percent of their circuits were down. It’s going to take a monumental effort to get these co-ops back up and the many others severely impacted by Hurricane Michael,” he said.

All told, more than a million customers were without power in Florida, Alabama and Georgia after the storm moved through.