Consumers Energy Crews Headed South to Assist as Hurricane Irma Moves Toward Florida

Sep 8, 2017 11:50 AM ET

JACKSON, Mich., Sept. 8, 2017 /3BL Media/ - More than 200 Consumers Energy employees and contract personnel are headed from Michigan to Florida to assist local electric companies preparing for Hurricane Irma’s landfall by late this weekend.

Consumers Energy crews, including lineworkers, damage assessors, safety personnel and other field employees departed the company’s Jackson Service Center on Thursday.

“We are ready and willing to assist our colleagues in Florida as they prepare for this historic hurricane,” said Guy Packard, Consumers Energy vice president of electric energy operations. “In the past, we were fortunate to be supported by out-of-state crews following major storms, and with fair weather here in Michigan, this is an opportunity for us to return the favor to our fellow line workers.”

During the recent wind storm in July, crews from four states assisted Consumers Energy in its restoration work. In March, the company was assisted by crews from Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Ohio.

Additional details of the caravan include the following:

  • By the Numbers: In addition to more than 50 Consumers Energy employees, the company has released 28 contractor line crews and 30 contractor forestry crews, totaling more than 150 contract workers traveling to Florida.
  • Irma Predictions: Hurricane Irma, currently a very strong Category 5 storm, with peak winds of more than 180 mph, is moving northwest through the Atlantic Ocean toward Florida. Current forecasts estimate the storm striking the southern portion of Florida Sunday morning.
  • Mutual Assistance Group: The Southeastern Electric Exchange, a collection of more than a dozen electric utilities with operations in the region, is requesting mutual aid from utilities across the Eastern U.S. Consumers Energy is a member of the Great Lakes Mutual Assistance Group, one of the organizations contacted for assistance.
  • Michigan Crews: Lineworker crews from 15 different Consumers Energy service centers, from Boyne City to South Monroe, are expected to make the trip. Other employees include zone managers and field leaders, mechanics, damage assessors and safety representatives. Their initial destination is scheduled to be Lake City, Fla.

Consumers Energy personnel are expected to remain in the state for up to two weeks, coordinating directly with Florida Power and Light. While in Florida, all of Consumers Energy’s costs are paid for by the host utilities.

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Terry DeDoes

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