The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas line workers continue to work in Florida and Georgia to assist with power outages caused by Hurricane Michael, according to a news release.
Crews included 104 linemen from Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI) of Little Rock, Carroll Electric Cooperative of Berryville, C&L Electric Cooperative of Star City, Craighead Electric Cooperative of Jonesboro, First Electric Cooperative of Jacksonville, North Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Salem and Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative of Texarkana.
Distribution cooperative crews are assisting fellow electric cooperatives in Georgia, while the AECI crews are working at Tyndall Air Force Base, about 12 miles east of Panama City, Fla.
Electricity has been restored to more than 2.6 million — or approximately 95 percent of — consumers impacted by the fast-moving and devastating storm.
“In just days, investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities and electric cooperatives mobilized an army of more than 35,000 workers from 27 states and Canada to restore power safely and as quickly as possible,” according to the release.
Approximately 138,000 electricity consumers remained without power as of Oct. 16, with the majority of outages isolated in the Florida Panhandle. Entire sections of the energy grid need to be rebuilt in some of these communities, and many of the consumers still without power may not be able to be reconnected due to the severe damage to their homes and businesses.
“This was a historic storm, and we continue to see a historic response from the crews who are working around-the-clock to restore power,” said ESCC Co-chair, Duane Highley, president and CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. “Never before have so many workers been mobilized so quickly from across our industry, and workers continue to be redeployed to the hardest hit areas where, in many cases, the energy grid is being completely rebuilt.”