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Hometown utility electric line crews from Missouri communities, including Palmyra, traveled to Louisiana over the weekend to perform recovery work in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Organized by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, lineworker crews from Missouri cities went to Alexandria, Louisiana to be ready for power restoration after the storm passes.
Preparedness coordinators for the city of Alexandria issued a call on Thursday to the Missouri Public Utility Alliance for mutual aid assistance, and the crews left for Louisiana Saturday morning.
The combined response of 32 lineworkers involves hometown crews from the seven Missouri cities of Carthage, Higginsville, Independence, Lebanon, Nixa, Palmyra and Poplar Bluff.
The workers are staging in Alexandria, La. equipped with eight bucket trucks, four digger/derrick trucks and 11 other utility vehicles and machines, ready to restore power to Alexandria’s municipal utility after the storm passes.
Palmyra Board of Public Works Superintendent Brent Abell said two of his employees, A.J. O’Brien and Brett Goodwin, were sent to Louisiana.
This isn’t the first time Palmyra BPW employees have gone to Louisiana to help with hurricane recovery, including just last year.
“We like to help other communities, and we know they’ll return the favor if Palmyra is in need,” Abell said.
Ida made land fall in Louisiana Sunday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane.
Forecasters warned Friday morning that the storm would undergo “rapid intensification” and be “at or near major hurricane intensity” by the time it reached the Gulf coast.
Mutual aid crews from Missouri hometown utilities assisted Alexandria and other area utilities twice in storm recoveries last year, repairing damage caused by Hurricane Laura (August 2020) and Hurricane Delta (October 2020).
The responding crews are from “public power” electric utilities, not-for-profit community-owned electric utilities that serve their individual cities.
These cities have agreements in place allowing staff to assist neighboring communities and states during widespread outages in other communities.
Municipal utility workers from other states will also be on the road to Gulf coast locations to assist in hurricane recovery efforts.
Missouri’s hometown utility mutual aid response is coordinated through MPUA’s mutual aid network. Assisting cities are reimbursed by the municipal utilities receiving assistance.
MPUA’s mutual aid network is part of a national public power mutual aid network coordinated by the American Public Power Association, which links more than 2,000 public power and rural electric cooperatives so they can help each other in times of need.