Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) crew returns home after helping in Hurricane Irma relief

     A Fayetteville Public Utilities (FPU) crew is now back from Georgia after Hurricane Irma ripped through parts of the southeast. Just before the storm hit, CEO/General Manager Britt Dye was in constant contact with electric companies impacted by the damage.

     After talking with The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA), he decided to send a crew of eight men down to Amicalola, Georgia to assist in restoring power on Wednesday, September 13th. “Shortly after the storm, about 10,000 customers were without power,” said Operating Superintendent Lewis Steelman. “When we left, everyone was back on in the area.” Across the state of Georgia, there was a peak of around 550,000 customers without power,” Dye says. “When the crews got to their location, they were assigned a dedicated area to clean up storm debris.” “Safety is the priority. We want all of our men to return the same way they left,” said Dye. “It’s important to help out our neighbors in Georgia any way we can. This is so the families impacted can start to return to a sense of normality.”

     All of the 8 men returned home safely to their families on September 18th, about a week after heading out. “It’s always good to extend a helping hand because someday, we may need help like we received during the massive ice storms back in 1994 and 1998.” Hurricane Irma was one of the most destructive storms to pound the service territories. Due to the combined cooperative spirit, 4,500 Linemen from 15 different state pitched in to help restore power to families in the area.

     The hurricane hit southwest Florida on September 10, battering the state’s lower half and leaving a trail of tornadoes and storm-surge flooding as its core slowly moved inland. The massive storm triggered evacuation orders for 5.6 million people before it made two landfalls. On September 11th, Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm as it lumbered through Georgia to parts north.