One day after Hurricane Wilma slammed the Florida coastline, TXU Electric Delivery announced plans to fly employee volunteers to southern Florida to help restore power. Hurricane Wilma left more than 3.2 million of Florida Power & Light's 4.3 million customers without electricity. In terms of electrical outages, Hurricane Wilma is the most damaging storm to hit Florida since Andrew, another storm to which TXU Electric Delivery also sent crews to aid in recovery efforts.
"From Key West to Daytona Beach, we empathize with those hurricane survivors who have been left without electricity," said Brenda Pulis, senior vice president, TXU Electric Delivery. "To our volunteer crews, who are traveling 1,400 miles to restore power for the people of Florida, you are to be commended. We know it isn't easy, but you truly make a difference everywhere you go, as evidenced by work earlier this summer in Florida and Louisiana, and in Deep East Texas this fall."
In a matter of hours, TXU Electric Delivery mobilized more than 100 employees and contractors to rebuild transmission and distribution systems left ravaged by Hurricane Wilma's 125-mph, category 3-winds. About 30 trucks departed for Florida on Tuesday, aiming to meet crews scheduled to arrive by plane on Thursday. Included in this storm team are damage assessors, line workers, support personnel, and administrative staff. Team members will work long hours in extreme weather and working conditions to safely restore power to the storm-ravaged region. Restoration teams will work with Florida Power & Light to assess damage and develop a strategy for moving personnel into the right location in southern Florida.
"While every disaster is different, our experiences with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita prepared us for Hurricane Wilma," said Pulis. "Every storm teaches us new lessons. To better prepare our employees for work this time, we put most crews on commercial flights. Rather than spend two and a half days on the road, we're putting most of the team on airplanes. They'll arrive in Florida in just three to four hours."
The TXU Electric Delivery workforce will be part of a large team of mutual assistance utility companies, who come to the aid of other utility companies, like Florida Power & Light and other utilities in times of need. Florida Power & Light will provide lodging, food, fuel, water and materials for all of TXU Electric Delivery's reconstruction team.