LINCOLN — After holding for the night in Birmingham, Alabama, Lincoln Electric System crews are heading back to Nebraska.
LES crews departed for New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Monday morning in response to a mutual aid request from the American Public Power Association and the Florida Municipal Electric Association. The call for mutual aid was made in anticipation of electric infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Dorian. However, while en route, the erratic storm slowed and shifted directions — now appearing set to skirt Florida’s east coast.
This is not the first time plans have changed due to the unpredictability of this hurricane. Two previous calls for mutual aid in Florida had to be changed after storm tracks shifted and Dorian stalled over the Bahamas, leaving forecasters unsure as to what the storm would do next.
“I have not seen a situation like this in my 42 years at LES,” said Dan Pudenz, vice president of Energy Delivery. “This storm has shifted tracks several times in the last week, causing uncertainty about where assistance might be needed most. However, our line technicians have been prepared throughout this process to answer the call wherever it sent them.” Crews spent Labor Day weekend at the ready due to the uncertainty before they finally departed Monday.
LES staff began the journey home this morning. They expect to return late Thursday, unless another utility requests aid. LES alerted utilities that crews are available, if needed. The Grand Island Utilities crew accompanying LES is also making the return-trip home.
As a member of the American Public Power Association’s mutual aid network, LES is always ready to answer the call for assistance and is reimbursed for all costs of deploying crews to help utilities in need.
Follow LES on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the LES response team, if the situation changes.