Day 9 – Tuesday, September 19th Update

It has been another long, hot, tiring day for our crews in the field today for our crews as well as our members still patiently waiting for power to be restored.  But it’s been another day full of our community pulling together, showing their compassion and generosity to our visiting crews as well as our own GEC employees.  Remember, our own employees have been here since day one, in their homes during the storm and then immediately on our lines working hard while we waited for our visiting crews to arrive.  I can’t imagine how tired all of them are but they won’t complain at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, our guys are simply amazing and my true heroes.

I can’t tell you how proud I am to live and work in this community. The thoughtfulness of our members is above and beyond anything we could have expected. I’ve seen the biggest, burliest linemen tear up when you hand them a thank you card from a school child. I’ve read the comments of people from all parts of the country adding support and encouragement to our community. I’ve felt the love of family members as they watch us head out on another early morning knowing they might not see us again till late at night. I’m just speechless with thanks.

As always, we’ll review Jeff’s comments first:

We’ve had a big day.

In Highlands County 1,192 meters have been restored since last night’s report.

In Hendry County 157 meters have been restored.

We’ve got 309 men and women on the ground doing all this work.  That’s a 1,144% increase in our workforce than we normally deal with.  You can imagine the mechanics of getting them all around.  I think you in the Lake Jo area have seen them all over the place. They are doing a great job. They expect to have a lot more meters hot tonight. Last night I reported there was an issue with a Duke transmission pole that would have impacted our Lorida substation.

Our G&T Seminole Electric worked with Duke yesterday and today. Upon inspection of that pole Duke has determined they can shore it up and take care of that pole at a later time so it will not be necessary to take down our Lorida Sub to repair that.  It will be done at a later time, thank God.

Our men think they will be done in Lorida tonight. If you still have an outage in Lorida after tonight enter another outage report. Our expectations are still to have everything wrapped up by the end of this weekend and hopefully sooner than that.  We are doing our best to get it done sooner than that. I know what an aggravation it is becoming and believe me it is an aggravation to all of our workers.  They are working non-stop from 6am to 11pm and later into the night.  They are dedicated to getting the power back on to your homes and businesses.

Hang in there with us. I know it’s a little different for the people in the north. They didn’t have to deal with Hurricane Wilma like the people in the south did.  Wilma was very destructive but not as destructive as this storm.  Again, it took two weeks to recover from that.  It’s just a massive damage that takes time. What we will accomplish in two weeks would take a year to accomplish in normal conditions. It’s a monumental task but we are taking care of it.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update. More lights will come on tonight.

On to the territory report:

Before I get into the territory report I want to mention that because we are over 99% restored in Glades and Okeechobee Counties I won’t be giving a full territory report in those areas.  However, each of those areas has crews assigned to work on the few single isolated outages we have left. We have not forgotten about you and we appreciate your patience.  We also still have some outages in all areas that cannot be reconnected due to damage to the member’s property.  If you fall in this category and have questions about inspections and reconnection please call our office.

Jim gave me tonight’s report from Hendry County and says he feels like it’s too short because his crews were really working hard but were focused in specific areas.  Those crews face a challenge of working on miles and miles of line that average only 2 meters per mile so progress can sometimes feel slow here. I told him his crews are continuing to make impressive progress in some really tough conditions. They have spent considerable time today working on infrastructure so work can go more smoothly farther down the line.

Crews have been working on the main lines in Big Cypress Reservation today to get ready for the main distribution line they are still trying to repair heading into the reservation.

Crews continued working today in Collin Slough and Gerber Groves. They made lots of progress here today but will be back out there tomorrow as well.  All of Orange Gate Road including Tribritton is up west of CR833. There may be isolated outages here. Crews are on CR 846 and will continue working here for two more days. Indian Prairie Canal and Roberson Drive are up.

Out of our West Clewiston substation 99% of the residences are up as well as 95% of the commercial irrigation pumps. There may be more work being done here tonight. The last of the meters in Flaghole were also connected today except houses where there was damage to the member’s side.

Mike gave me the wrap up for Highland’s County tonight.  He had so many extra crews in his area that a lot of progress was made.  In Lorida Afton Road has power except one transformer which will be replaced tomorrow. Boney Road is back up.

Driggers Road and the rest of Lakeside Village got power today.  There are a few single isolated outages in Highlands Park but crews will be there again tomorrow to finish them.

All of Golf Road except 1 home has power. Rhymes Road is up. They are working on Castle Rock and will be back tomorrow if they don’t finish tonight. Tasmania up to Fairview Road is up. Crews will be back to Fairview Road tomorrow.  Crews are still working in Box Ranch. Detjsen Dairy Road is up but work was still being done on Quarters Road tonight.

Many extra crews were sent to the Josephine area today. They have been working on 66 up to 635 but they are hoping to make more progress here tonight and tomorrow including Silver Fox and Markland.

Shasta Daisy is up. Crews were still working on Burkett and Whipperwell as I type this.  Rosemary Avenue and Josephine Court are up.

Crews were working in Buttonwood Bay tonight and will be back there tomorrow.  Crews were also working on Palmetto Drive tonight.  Some of Lake Frances  was restored and they will be back tomorrow to finish this area.  Crews were working on Hillside Drive and will head back there again tomorrow as well.

I really look forward to the day (hopefully very soon) where these reports are much shorter because that means we are close to done.  I know my husband will be happy to have me coming home at a normal hour as well! So my gratitude for tonight goes out to all the people that are supporting our employees and visiting crews.  To the children who are missing their parents and the parents who are missing their sons and daughters, thank you. To the spouses who stay up late just to spend a few minutes with us, take care of our laundry, the work around the house, have a meal ready, and a shoulder to lean on, thank you. To the families all over the country that worry about the crews working so hard here, thank you. We could not do the work we are doing if it wasn’t for the strength you show at home and we are forever grateful.

As always, stay safe tonight, stay away from downed lines, use generators responsibly, and drink plenty of water. Wishing you as much peace as you can find tonight. Hang in there if you are still without power and if you do have power, thanks for continuing to show your support. -Denise