For the third time in just over a year, Hydro One has answered the call for assistance from hurricane-ravaged Florida. The company is sending about 170 powerline maintainers from Hydro One Networks to help Florida Power and Light get the lights back on in the southern part of the state following severe damage earlier this week from Hurricane Wilma. They will be traveling with crews from Hydro One Brampton and London Hydro.
Last year Hydro One sent crews to Florida on two occasions to assist in power restoration after hurricanes Frances and Jean pummeled the state. This time around Wilma has knocked out power to over six million customers throughout Florida.
"Our crews have an excellent reputation in Florida after their tremendous efforts last year," explained Hydro One President and CEO Tom Parkinson. "It's a clear sign of respect FP&L has for our people that we were among the first to be asked to help despite being over 2200 kilometers away. Our crews are known as the 'A' Team, and it's easy to see why. Their high quality of work, attention to safety and speed with which they can mobilize and move make them among the very best in the business."
All costs of the restoration efforts will be paid by FP&L. Ontario electricity customers will not be required to subsidize these efforts. Hydro One still has sufficient resources to draw on if storms inflict damage on its own system.
Staff will be drawn from Hydro One work centers throughout the province including representatives from management, the Power Workers Union and Society of Energy Professionals. Convoys will be crossing the border at Windsor, Fort Erie, Gananoque near Kingston, and Pigeon River and Fort Frances in northwestern Ontario early tomorrow morning en route to a staging area near West Palm Beach.
Hydro One owns and operates Ontario's 28,400-kilometer high-voltage transmission network that delivers electricity to large industrial customers and municipal utilities, and a 122,000-kilometer low-voltage distribution system that serves about 1.2 million end-use customers and smaller municipal utilities in the province.