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Local electric company workers assist with hurricane recovery

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Nov 5, 2018 at 6:00 PM

NEW LONDON — Earlier this month, Firelands Electric Cooperative sent two linemen to North Carolina to assist with power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael.

A total of 44 linemen and 21 trucks from electric cooperatives across Ohio headed south during the early morning hours of Oct. 12 to respond to the damage left by Hurricane Michael. Linemen Phil Pickering and Rick Bowers were among those who traveled to lend assistance to EnergyUnited, the largest electric cooperative in North Carolina and one of the largest in the United States.

At the height of the storm, EnergyUnited reported that over 43,000 of its 125,000 members were without power. As of Oct. 16, the co-op had completed restoration to all of its members. Headquartered in Statesville, North Carolina, EnergyUnited has five service centers in western North Carolina and covers 19 counties. Its territory includes everything from rural mountainous regions to suburban areas near Charlotte.

“One of the fundamental principles of electric co-ops is cooperation among cooperatives,” says Firelands Electric’s general manager Dan McNaull. “Co-ops come to each other’s aid in times of need, so when we heard that our co-op friends in the south needed our help, we didn’t hesitate to answer the call.”

Hurricane Michael impacted electric cooperatives in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Virginia. Co-ops from 15 states, including Ohio, provided assistance with power restoration efforts. Total outages from the storm are estimated at nearly 1.5 million, which include locations served by cooperatives, municipalities and investor-owned utilities.

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