Tallahassee utility crews assisting in Ian recovery
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Three line crews from Tallahassee Electric and Gas Utility headed down to the Orlando/Kissimmee area Thursday afternoon to assist in power restoration efforts following Hurricane Ian.
Some 21 linemen and fleet support system crew are headed down to the area to help with rebuilding broken poles, downed wires, back locks, and transmission restorations.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said line crew foreman Michael Rainey. “Our main focus is to do whatever’s expected of us, and whatever utility that we go to will line that out for us.”
In the Kissimmee area, as of Thursday morning, over 2000 people are without power. However, General Manager Tony Guillen said those numbers could fluctuate.
“They’ll put us on rebuilding if there’s any significant damage, any broken poles, wire down any significant work. We’re taking quite a good workforce down,” Guillen said. “That’s what our guys really do well.”
Guillen said the crews plan to be down there for a week or longer there is “much greater damage than we expected.”
“If we’re extending past the two-week period, we’ll swap some crews so our guys can get some rest and we get some fresh help down there,” Guillen said.
The linemen are bringing all of their tools, spare materials, and items like installers or cross-arms to help with restoration efforts.
“There’s a large contingent of guys, so they’ve got their luggage, equipment, and uniforms,” Guillen said. “We’ll also take down some snacks and food so that we’re somewhat self-sufficient.”
Guillen said Tallahassee had not seen any outages at this time from downed trees in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. In anticipation of damage, however, Guillen said they were able to secure “quite a bit” of mutual aid to help and has now directed those crews to release to the areas they’re going down to assist.
“Our state agency has secured about 600 linemen and workers to come from as far away as Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas as well as crews that are freeing up in Florida now,” Guillen said.
Rainey will be leading a crew of five linemen that will be conducting assessments and transitioning to power restorations.
“We’re looking forward to getting on as many customers as we can in the shortest amount of time possible,” Rainey said.
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