PENSACOLA, Fla. – On the heels of Lineworker Appreciation Day (Aug. 26), a storm team of 180 Gulf Power employees and contractors left early Thursday morning to help with restoration efforts. The team is headed to Louisiana to assist after Hurricane Laura made landfall early this morning as a major hurricane. Traveling with the team is Gulf Power’s new community response vehicle, which can serve as a mobile command center for the crews as well as a charging station for customers that are without power.
Gulf Power joins its sister company, Florida Power & Light, who sent more than 900 employees and contractors earlier this week to assist Entergy Louisiana and Entergy Texas with their restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
“These communities are in dire need of help after having two tropical systems impact them – including a major hurricane. We are honored to be able to assist – just as so many have stepped up to help us in the past,” said Marlene Santos, president of Gulf Power. “We are in unprecedented times as we deal with a global pandemic and an extremely active hurricane season. As we aid our fellow utilities in restoring power, we will take every precaution to keep both our crews and the communities we will be working in safe.”
Gulf Power sent teams down to support FPL earlier this month as Isaias brushed along the Florida coast as it headed north. Crews from both companies recently returned from working in New Jersey after Hurricane Isaias knocked out power to millions in the Northeast. Now, this deployment for Hurricane Laura marks the second time this month that Gulf Power and FPL deployed employees and contractors will work to support power restoration efforts following a hurricane.
The crews will follow COVID-19 safety guidelines to keep everyone safe, including social distancing, increased sanitation measures and wearing masks where appropriate. In addition, the crews are planning to be self-sufficient to limit contact with other teams. Signs on trucks remind the public to honor the 6 feet social distancing requirements that help keep the crews safe while they work.
When Gulf Power puts a team together to travel and assist other utilities, its first consideration is ensuring enough crews remain in Northwest Florida to maintain reliability at home and that no severe tropical weather systems are forecast to impact the area in the coming days.
The extreme storm activity this month is a reminder that we are entering the height of hurricane season. Preparation and safety tips to ensure you and your family are prepared are available at GulfPower.com/storm.