The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which is closely collaborating on the response to Hurricane Michael this week, is using its website to highlight the work being done to get affected communities back on the grid.
The fast-moving Hurricane Michael, which has quickly plowed through the Southeast this week after starting in the Gulf of Mexico, has energy industry groups on their toes as they assess what the storm’s impact is for the affected states, including Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The storm, the first Category 4 in history to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle and the strongest storm to hit the United States since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, is being closely watched by groups such as the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which represents more than 900 electric cooperatives nationally, many of which are located inside the region affected by the storm. The association is helping to mobilize its member co-ops to assist with storm response, with the goal of stepping up during power outages.
“Full recovery from Hurricane Michael will take time,” NRECA CEO Jim Matheson stated in an article on the association’s website. “Co-op crews from at least 14 states are converging on the impact zone and will work around the clock to restore power as soon as conditions allow.”
Beyond coordination, NRECA is focused on distributing information. Its website includes an “information hub,” with maps highlighting the co-ops feeling the brunt of the storm, which are largely focused in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.
While we are grateful to not be in the direct path of #HurricaneMichael, we are happy to send crews to assist one of our sister cooperatives in power restoration efforts. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this storm. #mutualaid https://t.co/zoeUJf6Yqc pic.twitter.com/jlJBY6Nn4A
— BaldwinEMC (@BaldwinEMC) October 10, 2018
Keep our community, neighbors, and friends in your thoughts and prayers. These were taken today while pulling meters in the Shell Point, Live Oak Island, and Spring Creek areas. Everyone be safe and be prepared! #hurricanemichael pic.twitter.com/rXS7Ea0wV2
— Talquin Electric Cooperative (@TECtwwi) October 9, 2018
Additionally, NRECA is helping to document these co-ops as they reach out to help, including by rounding up social media entries and by publishing photos of the response.
There’s a lot of work ahead of the organizations—in Florida and Georgia, which are out of the storm zone at this point, the storm has led to hundreds of thousands power outages between the two states.
In its update on the storm situation [PDF], the U.S. Department of Energy noted that NRECA, along with fellow energy groups Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the American Public Power Association (APPA), have been in regular contact with both the agency and with affected parties on the ground.