A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Electric Cooperatives send 80 workers to help with Hurricane Michael devastation in Florida

As Hurricane Michael makes its way across several lower southeast states, it continues wreaking havoc and leaving thousands without power. Crews from 11 Kentucky electric cooperatives are on their way to Georgia to help with power restoration efforts. 

Thursday morning, just one day after Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida, the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives deployed 80 lineworkers, including construction crews, service crews, and support staff, to assist in recovery. Additional Kentucky co-ops are expected to join the efforts over the next few days.

Kentucky electric cooperatives from across the state have offered their help and support. Crews from Blue Grass Energy, Clark Energy Cooperative, Farmers RECC, Fleming-Mason Energy, Jackson Energy Cooperative, Kenergy Corp., Owen Electric Cooperative, Pennyrile Electric, Salt River Electric, South Kentucky RECC, and Warren RECC sent crews to aid in relief efforts.

The top priority of each local Kentucky co-op is service to its own consumer-members. Before committing resources to mutual aid requests, each co-op ensures it has ample crews available for all local needs, including routine maintenance and emergencies.

“Cooperation among cooperatives is one of our guiding principles,” said Clarence Greene, KAEC Safety and Loss Prevention Director. “These deployments are long hours in challenging conditions, but lineworkers are wired to help people. Mutual aid deployments also provide invaluable training opportunities they may not get in their respective area.”

One year ago, 131 Kentucky co-op workers helped restore power in Georgia after Hurricane Irma. The largest mutual aid deployment in Kentucky co-op history came in 2016 when 143 lineworkers responded to Hurricane Matthew.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.

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