OEU Deploys Crews to the US Virgin Islands to Assist with Relief Efforts Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria
OCALA, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2017) – Tuesday, Nov. 21, crews with Ocala Electric Utility (OEU) were deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with mutual aid power restoration and relief efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
OEU crews will be deployed to St. Croix and St. Thomas for a minimum of two rotations, lasting approximately three weeks each. During each rotation, crews from OEU will include two linemen, two apprentices, two groundmen, one general foreman and one working foreman. Crews will work approximately 12-16 hours, seven days per week and will assist with reconductoring power lines and replacing broken power poles.
Additionally, OEU will also provide the following equipment to aid in the power restoration process: two construction bucket trucks, two digger derrick trucks, two wire-pulling machines, one pole trailer and one foreman construction truck. This equipment was shipped to the U.S. Virgin Islands on a barge, which departed from Palm Beach, FL Tuesday, Nov. 21.
“[Ocala Electric Utility] received mutual aid from other utilities following Hurricane Irma in September 2017, so we are excited about the opportunity to pay it forward and assist the U.S. Virgin Islands as they continue to recover from these storms,” said Mike Poucher, Director, Ocala Electric Utility.
As of Monday, Nov. 27, 36 percent of power has been restored in St. Croix, 47 percent restored in St. John, 48 percent restored in St. Thomas and 37 percent restored to Water Island customers. These power restoration totals represent approximately 20,500 customers in the territory. According to WAPA, the goal is to restore 90 percent of power to all areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands by Monday, Dec. 25.
During this mutual-aid deployment, OEU crews will also be working with crews from the City of Tallahassee (FL), Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (Fort Pierce, FL) and Homestead Electric Utility (City of Homestead, FL).