PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (KFOR) – Over a week after a crew of 95 Oklahoma Gas and Electric lineman and support personnel left for Florida, thousands of Floridians have their power restored.
OG&E crews have been working with Florida Power & Light to assist the residents of Florida. All residents in Melbourne now have their power restored.
OG&E is now in Punta Gorda and has been working to restore power for the residents in Charlotte County.
According to Florida Power & Light’s outage map, 125,000 customers in Charlotte County were initially left without power due to the storm.
“Punta Gorda is closer to the eye of hurricane so there is more damage than the other areas. We’re seeing very large trees uprooted and the storm took down multiple poles. There is a lot of the work where we have to use specialized equipment to get to the area,” OG&E Manager of Distribution Construction and Storm Response Lead Chad Guthrie said.
As of Tuesday, the number of customers without power has dropped to 75,000 as a result of the crew’s efforts. They’re all expected to be restored by late Friday night.
“We have made great progress and are working hard restoring power to many customers every day. We keep getting more work because everyone if really impressed with our work ethic and level of expertise. It’s great that we’ve been able to energize many Florida customers,” said Guthrie. “I’d like to thank the team that we brought down – each one from the leadership team to the lineman to the mechanics, it takes all of us to make this work.”
OG&E Vice President of Transmission & Distribution Operations Andrea Dennis explained the constant support from Oklahomans and Floridians has a good effect on the crew’s attitudes as they continue to help communities impacted by Hurricane Ian.
“OG&E’s customer service center has received countless calls from Florida residents thanking our lineman for their hard work,” Dennis said. “These words of encouragement and gratitude mean so much to our lineman, and they definitely help keep up morale as our crews continue their restoration efforts in challenging conditions.”
A resident of Florida reached out to OG&E.
“My power was out for 72 hours. When a crew from OG&E arrived, they had by power restored in 15 minutes,” the resident said. “They were respectful, professional and represented the company in the best light. I’m very thankful.”
Based on the significant strides made in the restoration process, crews are expected to return home this weekend.