Gulf Power has previously received the Edison Electric Institute’s “Emergency Recovery Award” for its outstanding power restoration efforts after storms. This year the company’s lineman have traveled to help storm recovery and locally restored power following severe weather and wildfires.
This year more than ever there’s been a lot of reasons to celebrate lineworkers on Lineworker Appreciation Day on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Through thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical storms and even wildfires, the approximately 180 Gulf Power lineworkers have been busy this year. This weekend, Gulf Power was on alert as two hurricanes approached the Gulf of Mexico. While there does not appear to be an immediate threat to Northwest Florida, crews are ready to assist utilities to the west of us if needed.
And of course, the Gulf Power team has been working all of these events during a pandemic. The coronavirus has pushed the company to increase safety measures to protect its workers as well as customers while ensuring the lights stay on.
“Our lineworkers do such an incredible job each day and to add in the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been amazing to see their professionalism and high level of commitment to our customers and each other,” said Mike Spoor, Gulf Power’s vice president of power delivery. “This year is especially a time to show our appreciation for our lineworkers.”
Gulf Power implemented safety protocols to protect our team from contracting the virus in March. Face coverings, social distancing, increased sanitation measures and wellness checks have added a different meaning to working safely.
While lineworkers work daily to maintain high reliability levels to Gulf Power customers, they have also responded to other emergency events this year, including some in support of other energy companies.
In April, a team of lineworkers and support personnel assisted Alabama Power following a series of tornadoes.
Later that month, crews worked safely and quickly to restore power to thousands of customers here in Northwest Florida when a series of storms spawned several tornadoes.
Wildfires came into play in May when a 2,000-acre fire swept through part of Santa Rosa County. Lineworkers restored power to about 1,100 customers who were affected by the blaze.
If that wasn’t enough, hurricane season started.
In early June, lineworkers and support personnel set to work when Tropical Storm Cristobal knocked out power to 25,000 Gulf Power customers in less than 24 hours.
A storm restoration team went to the eastern part of the state earlier this month to assist our FPL family when Hurricane Isaias was threatening Florida. The storm stayed offshore and did minimal damage but when it slammed into the Northeastern seaboard, another Gulf Power storm team traveled to New Jersey to assist with storm restoration there.
“In my 35 years in the utility industry, I don’t remember a year where there were so many different kinds of events where our lineworkers had to work to restore service to our customers,” Spoor said. “It’s a testament to their commitment and experience that they have battled adversity.”