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Hometown utility electric line crews from Missouri and Arkansas, including one from Palmyra, are working in central Florida, restoring power in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
Lineworker crews from 13 hometown utilities organized by the Missouri Public Utility Alliance are now working in the Orlando area.
“Our crews started restoring ‘feeder’ lines yesterday afternoon which gets the most people restored with power,” said Kevin Thornton, a crew leader for the MPUA Resource Services Corporation in Columbia.
“The Orlando area started getting hit Wednesday afternoon and it lasted for about 24 hours. Of the hurricane relief efforts I have assisted with, the water is more of an issue in this area than wind damage.”
Hurricane Ian left more than 2 million Florida homes and businesses without power.
The MPUA crew is part of a combined response of 57 lineworkers involving crews from the Missouri cities of Carthage, Chillicothe, Hannibal, Higginsville, Independence, Macon, Nixa, Odessa, Palmyra, Poplar Bluff and Springfield. They are also joined by a crew from Conway, Ark.
The crews are working 16-hour days, directed locally by the Orlando Utilities Commission.
As work progresses the crews may be dispatched to other areas in Florida needing power restoration work.
The crews arrived in Florida Wednesday, just ahead of the storm, equipped with more than 50 utility work vehicles, including bucket trucks, digger/derrick trucks, and other linework vehicles.
The Missouri Public Utility Alliance Mutual Aid Network coordinated the area’s response to assist Florida public power utilities, part of a national response assisting organized by the American Public Power Association.
Mutual aid agreements organized through APPA link more than 2,000 public power and rural electric cooperatives, so they can help each other in times of need.
Assisting cities are reimbursed by the municipal utilities receiving assistance.