Energy Institute of Alabama members spearhead Hurricane Sally recovery efforts
The Energy Institute of Alabama’s (EIA) member utility companies continue to work tirelessly to restore power and assist with Hurricane Sally clean-up efforts in Southwest Alabama.
The category 2 hurricane battered the Gulf Coast last week, leaving close to a million Alabamians without power.
Alabama’s electric utilities were prepared ahead of the storm to immediately begin working to restore services. Lineworkers and support crews have been brought in from across the country to aid their incredible efforts.
“These utility companies, and the selfless linemen and crews, have worked around the clock to restore power as quickly and safely as possible to the impacted areas,” EIA Chairman Seth Hammett said in a statement.
“We are grateful for their swift response and service in a time of need for south Alabama. EIA would also like to thank utility workers from neighboring states as well as personnel from the Alabama National Guard for their relief efforts,” he added.
For example, Alabama Power Company had more than 680,000 customers experience disrupted power service due to Hurricane Sally. As of Sunday, Alabama Power had restored service to 99% of these customers. These rapid response efforts reportedly included the replacing of more than 1,500 spans of power lines as well as replacing over 400 power poles and over 500 transformers that were damaged during the hurricane. The company’s comprehensive efforts included a storm team of more than 4,000 utility workers and support personnel from 14 different states.
Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives, led by PowerSouth, have also joined together to provide crews and relief efforts to the Baldwin EMC service areas most impacted by the hurricane. With initial damages of roughly 2,000 broken power poles, 4,160 spans of downed lines and almost 4,300 trees on power lines, Baldwin EMC – the state’s largest electric cooperative – now has power restored to over 70% of their system, and 94 of the 100 total circuits on the system now have power. Additionally, the Alabama Rural Electric Association continues to spearhead coordination efforts involving Baldwin EMC together with 1,400 linemen and women in co-op crews from 11 different states to safely support relief and restoration efforts.
Additionally, Electric Cities of Alabama crews have been able to restore power to nearly 80% of the more than 56,000 people that had outages due to the severe weather. The specific public power utilities assisting in South Alabama include: City of Troy Utilities; Cullman Power Board; Decatur Utilities; Dothan Utilities; Guntersville Electric Board; Huntsville Utilities; Municipal Utilities Board of Albertville; Opelika Power Services; Russellville Electric Board; Scottsboro Electric Power Board; Utilities Board of Andalusia; Utilities Board of Tuskegee; Tallahassee, FL; The Utilities Commission of New Smyrna Beach, FL; Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), FL; Gainesville, FL; Orlando Utilities Commission, FL; Lafayette Utilities System, LA; Florida Municipal Electric Association; and American Public Power Association.
“When natural disasters strike, utility workers and crews are often the first responders, working to quickly and safely restore power and assisting the clean-up efforts,” stated EIA Vice-Chairman Houston Smith of Alabama Power Company. “We are committed to a full-recovery and remain incredibly thankful for these heroes who have come to assist on the coast.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn