Minnesota Municipal Crews Head Home from Florida

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Minnesota Municipal Crews Head Home from Florida

September 4, 2019

The Minnesota municipal electric utility crews dispatched to Florida in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian departed for home in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Sept. 4.

The hurricane brushed Florida with tropical storm conditions and now threatens the Carolinas, with a potential landfall later this week.

The MMUA-organized crews were ‘pre-staged’ in Kissimmee, Florida, in anticipation of repairing damage to the Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) from the Category 5 hurricane. As it turned out, KUA suffered no outages from the storm. The move to pre-stage crews was developed following previous events, where crews had difficulty getting into hurricane-damaged areas.

“We at Kissimmee Utility Authority are extremely grateful to the lineworkers and public power utilities of Minnesota who once again came to our aid in a time of need.,” said Chris Gent, KUA Director of Corporate Communications. “After being significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017, we prepared for the worst with Dorian… and we were thrilled to have your member utilities as part of our restoration team. We haven’t forgotten about your help after Irma, and we thank you for your support again this week. Together, we are public power strong!

That the hurricane struck only a glancing blow “is great news for the KUA and the other surrounding utilities,” said MMUA Director of Training and Safety Mike Willetts. “South and North Carolina municipal utilities have hundreds of crews already pre-staged, so it seems like our work is done at this time.”

The Minnesota group deployed from Rochester Public Utilities on Saturday at 10:45 AM. The caravan of 24 utility vehicles received a fire/law enforcement escort out of town.

Participating utilities include: Alexandria, Anoka, Blooming Prairie, Austin, Brainerd, Elk River, Glencoe, Grand Rapids, Marshall, Owatonna, Rochester, Saint James, Shakopee, Sleepy Eye, Willmar and Missouri River Energy Services.

Serving as leads for Minnesota on the ground were Cody Raveling and James Monroe from MMUA.