The long and winding road came to an end on Sept. 22 for the hundreds of Alabama Power employees who had spent the past three weeks restoring power after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
“The recent hurricane events impacting Texas, Florida, Georgia and Alabama proved the true mettle of the electric utility industry and Alabama Power,” said Senior Vice President of Power Delivery Scott Moore. “The cooperation and focus on customer restoration to establish a sense of normalcy to devastated areas across the industry was incredible.”
Employees began helping in Houston at the end of August after Harvey. They came home to restore power to their own customers in early September after Irma, moved into Georgia and then went to central Florida.
“I am very proud of the many teams and all the employees for once again proving just how valuable they are in performing incredible work in addressing storm response needs for the electric utility industry,” Moore said.
On Sept. 18, about 900 Alabama Power personnel and contractors left to assist Florida Power & Light, which had reduced its 4.5 million outages after Irma to about 400,000 customers without power. The Alabama Power crews were released Sept. 22.
The greatest number of Alabama Power crew members, support personnel and contractors, about 2,300, assisted Georgia Power Sept. 13-17 following the largest outage in Southern Company history, which affected nearly 1 million customers in the wake of Irma. The crews went to Georgia after restoring power to 71,000 Alabama Power customers Sept. 12-13.
“Teams from all across the state responded and did incredible work to be able to complete the Alabama restoration and begin the transition to Georgia to begin restoration work on one of the most devastating storms to impact Georgia in its history,” Moore said. “As soon as the storm allowed, our employees responded and did exceptional work in safely restoring service to the customers. They performed this work in very difficult situations and while away from home.”
Hundreds of grateful FP&L customers posted Facebook messages and tweeted their appreciation. Students at Palmetto Charter School in Manatee County created a banner and wrote “thank you” notes and colored pictures for the linemen and crews who came to their aid from Alabama.
Dear linemen, thank you for giving us power. Thank you for saving the world,” Wyatt wrote.
Fadian wrote: “Dear linemen, Thank you for fixing the flickers. Thank you for saving us and our wi-fi.”
In addition to the thousands who traveled to other states, the Alabama Power’s Customer Service representatives also fielded overflow calls from Georgia.
Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite added his thanks to all of those who answered the call.
“Thousands of people across four states are better off because of the help provided by the Alabama Power family in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” Crosswhite said in an email to employees. “Many of those who had their power restored – safely and reliably – have expressed their great appreciation, and I want to add my thanks for a job well done. Members of the storm teams who traveled to the scenes of destruction and those who provided the necessary support at home together demonstrated the kind of dedication and skill that customers truly depend on, especially in times of need.”
Crosswhite also called on all Alabama Power employees to continue to remember those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.