FirstEnergy is continuing its efforts to help restore electrical service to those areas affected by Hurricane Katrina by sending 131 employees - including 48 line crews - to the Jackson, Mississippi, area. They will relieve the 95 FirstEnergy employees who have been working on the restoration efforts since Aug. 25.
This contingent includes 15 new line crews - eight from The Illuminating Company and seven from Met-Ed - who will leave Thursday morning. Including the additional equipment they are bringing, FirstEnergy companies will have a total of 67 line trucks and other vehicles in the area. In addition, 95 FirstEnergy employees from Ohio and Pennsylvania will fly into Jackson, Mississippi, on Saturday to relieve those FirstEnergy workers from Toledo Edison, Ohio Edison, Penn Power, Penelec and Met-Ed who have been in Florida and Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina first made landfall in the Miami area.
"Utilities in the Gulf area are dealing with widespread devastation to their electrical systems and our employees are proud to offer their assistance in this massive rebuilding effort," said Chuck Jones, FirstEnergy's senior vice president of Energy Delivery and Customer Service.
FirstEnergy is a member of a mutual-assistance group of electric utilities that help each other with major restoration projects. In addition to providing crews, FirstEnergy also released about 320 electrical and forestry contractors from their existing commitments so they could travel south to assist with the restoration efforts.
Last year, when Florida and other parts of the southeast United States were battered with a series of hurricanes in August and September, FirstEnergy sent more than 400 employees to assist with restoration efforts. In January, the company and its employees were honored for this effort by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) with its Emergency Assistance Award.
In addition to the mutual response efforts, the company also announced that The FirstEnergy Foundation will match FirstEnergy employee contributions made through American Red Cross chapters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the states where the company has operations.