This update is from Jim Matheson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
Electric cooperatives in Florida and Georgia have restored almost 75 percent of Hurricane Irma’s outages. 232,000 co-op outages remain in Florida and 122,000 remain in Georgia.
New challenges like the flooding of roads and increased traffic are impeding progress as co-ops work to clear vegetation and rebuild power lines. Co-ops continue working through these and other hurdles as they restore power to those who remain without service. Click here to watch a great restoration video produced by Jackson EMC.
Hundreds of thousands of co-op members are going on days four or five without power. As crews continue working around the clock, they are asking for patience and perseverance from those who still can't turn on their lights. Co-ops throughout the impact zone have done a tremendous job of leveraging social media to share timely updates and photos with their followers. They also continue to educate members about the dangers of improper generator use.
NRECA continues to relay co-op needs and updates to the federal government and other industry stakeholders. If you have any unmet needs or questions, please contact me.
The people of Florida and Georgia owe a major debt of gratitude to the linemen from across the nation who dropped everything to lend a hand. I’m continually impressed by their stories and their sacrifice as they work to restore power in Irma’s impact zone.
Thank you to the crews and the sacrifices that their families are making as they continue working with energy companies from near and far to restore power for the families most affected by Irma.