Four linemen and two trucks will be sent to help southern Georgia electric workers restore power after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, the Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative has announced.
The local crew was set to depart from Wellington early Tuesday, traveling in a bucket truck and derrick-digger about 1,250 miles to assist southern Georgia cooperatives.
“One of the guiding principles is cooperation among cooperatives,” general manager Markus Bryant said. “The cooperative network is one big family network. This is quite a commitment for our linemen and we’re proud they volunteered. They are leaving behind their family and the comforts of home to help restore power for people they have never met. Providing mutual aid is our opportunity to assist a cooperative in need. We needed assistance in 2005 during the ice storm. You never know when you might need some help.”
Ohio Electric Cooperatives are coordinating the mutual aid efforts with 66 linemen from 11 Ohio electric cooperatives heading south.
Conditions are expected to be Spartan, since there are no motel vacancies. The line crews will likely be sleeping on cots, probably in a garage area, according to LMRE.
Once they finish helping in Georgia, they may be sent to Florida or another neighboring state depending on where they may be needed. Local line crews are expected to be gone for 10 to 14 days.
Access to fuel is one of the biggest concerns for the traveling cooperatives, LMRE indicated. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is working with the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies to ensure that cooperatives have access to the resources they need as they work to restore power.