Tennessee electric utility linemen ready to help restore power to East Coast after Hurricane Florence

Tennessee electric utility linemen ready to help restore power to East Coast after Hurricane Florence

September 13th, 2018 by Staff Report in Breaking News

A storm front passes homes in North Topsail Beach, N.C., prior to Hurricane Florence moving toward the east coast on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Nearly 200 electric utility linemen from across Tennessee are moving into place to help restore power once Hurricane Florence passes over the East Coast, with more on standby.

Phillip Burgess, with the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, said 44 linemen from various municipalities including Athens, Murfreesboro and Tullahoma have been sent to staging areas in North Carolina.

  • Jackson, Tenn., Energy Authority has two five-man crews headed to Apex, N.C.
  • The Greeneville, Tenn., Electric System is sending two five-man crews to Greenville, N.C.
  • Athens Utilities Board is sending six linemen to Greenville, N.C.
  • The Murfreesboro Electric Department has five linemen headed for Wilson, N.C.
  • The Tullahoma Utilities Board is sending three linemen to Wilson, N.C.
  • Memphis Light Gas & Water is sending two five-man crews to New Bern, N.C.

"In addition to that, we have 62 other linemen on standby just in case additional linemen are needed, Burgess said. That includes eight from Cleveland, Tenn.

The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association is sending another 140 line workers from 15 electric co-ops across the state.

"Our crews have a reputation for responding quickly, working safely and showing compassion to those who have been impacted by storms like this one," TECA Executive Vice President and General Manager David Callis said on the co-op's website. "We commend their desire to serve and wish them well in the days to come."

That includes 10 linemen from the Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative in Jasper, Tenn. That crew went to the Four County Electric Membership Corporation in Burgaw, NC .

"This is a powerful storm, and the people of North Carolina have some tough days ahead," SVEC President and CEO said in a statement. "We are proud of our linemen for volunteering to assist. They will be working long days in difficult conditions, but they were quick to respond to the call for help. We ask that the public keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers while they are away."

Burgess said there are always concerns for workers' safety after a catastrophe or natural disaster, but said there is a "special relationship within public power members who always have their sister utilities' backs."