During the months of September and October, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) sent four teams of linemen to help restore power to hurricane-ravaged areas of the Gulf Coast. The last team, which was repairing electric lines in Louisiana, ended work on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Following Hurricane Katrina in August, SMECO sent two groups of linemen to help Singing River and Pearl River Valley electric power associations in southern Mississippi. They were followed by two more groups, who went to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative in southwest Louisiana, where Hurricane Rita made its landfall. Each group spent nine days in the region.
The electric lines in the area sustained heavy damage from the two hurricanes, which toppled thousands of utility poles. Some electric cooperatives in the region were left completely unable to deliver power to their customer-members. In some areas of Louisiana, the SMECO linemen encountered major flooding, which brought additional hazards, such as snakes and alligators.
In total, almost 60 SMECO linemen used their skills and training to assist the Gulf Coast residents. The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives coordinated the relief efforts.