T&D World Magazine

FPL Increases Number of Personnel Supporting Hurricane Rita Restoration

A second wave of Florida Power & Light Company restoration workers arrived in Lumberton, Texas, this week to aid Gulf Coast utilities in restoring electric service to customers hard hit by Hurricane Rita.

FPL's total workforce, including contractors, now numbers 766. The latest wave of workers including 67 FPL employees and 80 contractor personnel will be providing assistance to Entergy, CenterPoint Energy and CLECO utilities in Texas and Louisiana.

"In the event of great natural disasters such as hurricanes, utility companies call on each other for support in restoring service to customers as quickly and safely and possible," Geisha J. Williams, FPL's vice president of distribution, said. "Similar to how other utilities have supported our restoration efforts following hurricanes that have made landfall in our service territory, we are now doing our part to restore service to Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Rita."

The additional crews arrived safely in Lumberton earlier this week and after receiving a safety briefing from Entergy went to work reconnecting service to two main electrical distribution lines which by the end of the day had restored power to a number of Lumberton residents, City Hall and the Police Department. Lumberton, Texas is about 15 miles from Beaumont which is about 90 miles from Houston.

"Entergy Texas sincerely appreciates the help that FPL is providing to our crews as we work to correct the massive damage that Hurricane Rita left in her wake," said Joe Domino, president and CEO of Entergy Texas. "I assure you that customers whose lights are coming on are extremely happy to see those FPL trucks and workers in their neighborhoods."

Since arriving in Texas, FPL crews have been working 16-hour shifts, sometimes in high temperatures, to rebuild and restore service to an area devastated by Hurricane Rita 14 days ago. FPL's first wave of workers was responsible for bringing the first lights back on in Lumberton and Beaumont, Texas. So far, FPL crews have restored three electrical substations containing 11 main lines in residential areas and a water plant.

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