Gulf Power lineworkers are getting extra kudos ahead of Saturday’s National Lineman Appreciation Day.

The thanks are coming from the Birmingham, Alabama, area where a Gulf Power team of nearly 70 lineworkers and support personnel assisted Alabama Power in restoring power following a series of thunderstorms and tornadoes that swept through the state late Sunday night.

The team arrived Tuesday afternoon and worked until Thursday when they returned to Northwest Florida. The crews safely worked to repair overhead wi

re and replace broken poles and damaged transformers to restore service to Alabama Power customers.

“We took additional safety precautions and discussed these with our team to ensure our employees and the customers they were restoring power to would be protected and safe from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Paul Talley, manager of Gulf Power’s emergency preparedness team.

It was the first time a Gulf Power storm team had provided mutual assistance in the midst of a pandemic. The team was diligent in maintaining social distancing and good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of germs. Takeout meals were ordered from local restaurants in individually packaged meals and they lodged in single-room occupancy at area hotels.

The trip provided some good opportunities to learn how to handle storm restoration in the midst of a pandemic, with these learnings benefitting both Gulf Power and Florida Power & Light Company. The company is already working to incorporate these measures into its plans for the upcoming hurricane season.

“We’ll be able to use how this storm trip went to improve our plans even more,” Talley said. “We appreciate the lineworkers and the support personnel who volunteered for this trip, even in this time of uncertainty, to help another community get back up and running. As always, our lineworkers do an incredible job each and every day to keep the power on for our customers while also helping customers of other utilities in times of need.”