As part of its long-standing tradition of assisting other electric companies during large-scale power outages, FirstEnergy Corp. utilities have sent 390 linemen, damage assessors, forestry crews and support personnel to Lake City, Florida, to help Florida Power & Light with restoration efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
Crews began leaving for Florida on Thursday, with all expected to arrive at the Lake City staging area by Saturday.
Current forecasts call for Hurricane Matthew to make landfall in Florida today before moving up the coast through Saturday. Hundreds of thousands of customers have already lost power, and personnel will be deployed to the most damaged areas when it's safe to do so after the storm moves through.
Nine of FirstEnergy's utilities are part of the mutual assistance effort, which includes crews from Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison in Ohio; Penelec, West Penn Power and Met-Ed in Pennsylvania; Mon Power in West Virginia; Potomac Edison in West Virginia and Maryland; and Jersey Central Power & Light in New Jersey. Support personnel from FirstEnergy's corporate offices also are included in the company's contingent.
"FirstEnergy employees are committed to assisting what is likely to be a massive power restoration effort in Florida," said Steven Strah, senior vice president and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. "While it's not expected that Hurricane Matthew will impact any FirstEnergy service territories, we have carefully assessed conditions and are confident we have the personnel in place to maintain reliable operations for our customers."
FirstEnergy is a member of multiple electric utility mutual-assistance groups that work cooperatively to restore service to customers when a natural disaster causes large-scale power outages. Mutual assistance allows utilities to pool their resources to help restore power to customers faster. In the past, FirstEnergy and its employees have been honored by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) with its "Emergency Assistance Award" for the mutual assistance the company has provided during winter and summer storms.