Updated: OPPD answered Florida’s call

Story updated Sept. 25, 10:45 a.m.

OPPD was among the utilities that answered Florida’s call for help after Hurricane Irma blasted the state. Two groups from the utility left a day apart, heading to opposite sides of the state. The utility also sent an additional 42 contracted tree trimmers.

Now, those workers have been released to come home.

OPPD’s first mutual aid group of 15 workers, including 12 linemen, two mechanics, and a supervisor left for Tampa Tuesday, Sept. 12 in 14 vehicles, arriving there by Thursday.

After a week of hard work in heat and humidity, Tampa Electric released them to return home on Wednesday, Sept. 20 and they arrived back in OPPD’s service territory Friday, Sept. 22.

The second group of 15 workers left Wednesday, Sept. 13, arriving in Jacksonville by that Friday. They had completed their mission by Sunday, Sept. 17, and were released to come home that day. They arrived back home Tuesday, Sept. 19.

Both groups offered resources to other utilities prior to leaving Florida; however, resources were already in place to restore power to the customers who remained without power. All costs associated with their deployment will be reimbursed by the utilities that requested assistance – Tampa Electric and Jacksonville Electric Authority.

Mutual aid duty is something employees volunteered for, knowing the amount of work that would be in store for them in tough conditions. “They really appreciated all of our help,” said OPPD Field Supervisor Chris Coniglio, who was in charge of the Tampa group. “And the hospitality was amazing.”

Below is a look at their efforts. Read more about their experience on The Wire.


Jodi Baker

About Jodi Baker

Jodi Baker writes stories and shoots videos for The Wire. Jodi was a television news reporter before she came to work for OPPD as a media specialist in 2013. She's married with two children (a boy and a girl), who keep her and her husband, Dave, hopping. Busy and blessed.

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