Florida Municipal Electric Association Announces First Ever “Restoring Communities Awards”

Association recognizes municipal electric utilities for their power restoration efforts following Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew

The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) has announced its “Restoring Communities Awards,” which recognize the tireless efforts of municipal electric utilities that worked to quickly and safely restore power to Florida communities in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew. Receiving recognition are both municipal electric utility members affected by the hurricanes and those who rushed to the aid of their fellow municipal electric utilities. Members were selected based on restoration times, customer communications efforts and the levels of mutual aid provided.

The recipients of the “Restoring Communities Awards” are:

  • Beaches Energy Services (Jacksonville Beach)
  • City of Alachua
  • City of Bartow
  • City of Green Cove Springs
  • City of Lake Worth
  • City of Leesburg
  • City of Newberry
  • City of Starke
  • City of Tallahassee
  • City of Quincy
  • Fort Pierce Utilities Authority
  • Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU)
  • JEA
  • Keys Energy Services
  • Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA)
  • Lakeland Electric
  • Ocala Electric Utility
  • Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC)
  • Town of Havana
  • Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach

The awards will be presented to recipients during the 17th Annual Florida Lineman Competition on April 22 in Lakeland.

“While it had been 11 years since our state’s municipal electric utilities had been tested by a hurricane, the response of Florida’s public power community was strong and swift. The moment it was safe, municipal electric crews from across the state starting working to restore power for their neighbors or hit the roads to help other communities in need,” said Clay Lindstrom, FMEA President and Fort Pierce Utilities Authority General Manager. “These are incredibly dangerous, high-pressure situations and I applaud each of the award recipients for their efforts to get life back to normal for their customers.”

September’s Hurricane Hermine followed by October’s Hurricane Matthew resulted in $1.6 billion in damages and more than 1 million households and businesses without power in Florida alone. Nearly 400,000 of these customers were from Florida’s public power communities. Thousands of lineworkers and other support personnel from public power utilities across Florida and the country, as well as investor-owned utilities, were brought in to assist with restoration efforts.

Power restoration efforts were able to move quickly due to Mutual Aid Agreements that enable municipal utilities to call on each other for emergency workers and supplies. Florida’s public power utilities benefit from this strong network of partners within Florida and across the country through the American Public Power Association. These dependable connections have created a reliable system where member utilities both request and offer assistance. Mutual Aid Agreements are also in place with electric cooperatives and Florida’s investor-owned utilities in order to draw upon additional resources.

“Our members have been standing side-by-side for 75 years and that history of service to one another really shone through when we were facing the tough challenges of two back-to-back hurricanes and widespread power outages,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Interim Executive Director. “It’s that spirit of collaboration, cooperation and community that we are honoring today with these awards.”

Municipal electric utilities provide affordable, reliable electric service, and have been doing so for more than a century. As community-owned and locally managed organizations, these utilities are focused on serving local needs and interests while reinvesting back into the community for services, such as police and fire protection.

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