OUC’s Hurricane Ida recovery team returned home on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, after Lafayette (La.) Utilities System emerged from the Category 4 storm in better shape than expected. The 12-member crew made it as far as Destin in the Panhandle when LUS released several mutual aid crews sent by Florida municipal utilities.

Fortunately, Louisiana’s public power operators were spared direct impacts from Ida, according to the Florida Municipal Electric Association, which coordinated mutual aid requests with FMEA member utilities.

Almost a year ago to the day, OUC dispatched an 11-truck convoy of line technicians bound for Lafayette after Hurricane Laura hit the Pelican State. But the storm didn’t inflict major damage on LUS, so the utility released OUC’s crew before it arrived. While traveling through the Panhandle on its way back to Orlando, the crew was turned around and sent to Alexandria, La., where it helped restore power to 25,000 residents. A few days later, the crew was redeployed to Winnfield, La.

Last October, OUC responded to LUS’ second mutual aid request of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, and this time it really needed help in the wake of Hurricane Delta. OUC also sent storm recovery teams last year to Fairhope, Ala. (Hurricane Sally; September) and Gulfport, Miss. (Hurricane Zeta; November).