The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) announced public power personnel from four Florida municipal electric utilities will be headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands tomorrow to assist with power restoration efforts there following destructive Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Headed first to St. Croix, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria, are 31 public power personnel from the City of Tallahassee electric utility, Ocala Electric Utility, City of Homestead electric utility and Fort Pierce Utilities Authority. They are bringing with them more than 30 bucket trucks, pickup trucks, trailers and other pieces of equipment, which will float to St. Croix via barge from Palm Beach. The public power crews will fly to St. Croix to meet the trucks.
With only 25 percent of the island’s power restored, St. Croix is the first priority. If able, Florida public power personnel may also assist with restoration efforts on St. Johns and St. Thomas, which were significantly damaged by Hurricane Irma.
“After Hurricane Irma tore through nearly the whole state, Florida utilities were the grateful beneficiaries of mutual aid from utilities all across the country. We are honored to have this chance to return the favor and help our neighbors in the U.S. Virgin Islands get their lights and their lives back to normal,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director. “And, we deeply appreciate the service and dedication of these public power lineworkers who are leaving their families behind during Thanksgiving to assist.”
The mutual aid to the U.S. Virgin Islands has been coordinated by FMEA, in conjunction with the American Public Power Association (APPA) and U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (USVI-WAPA).
Mutual Aid Agreements 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 APPA. Florida’s municipal electric utilities also have forged mutual aid arrangements with Florida’s investor-owned utilities. These dependable connections have created a reliable system where member utilities both request and offer assistance.