OUC was honored on Feb. 7, 2022, with the Florida Municipal Electric Association’s (FMEA) Restoring Communities Award for lending mutual aid assistance to two public utilities impacted by major storms last year. OUC has received this award every year since 2016.

The award recognizes public power utilities for either providing or receiving mutual aid following significant weather events or emergencies or providing exemplary service to their community following emergency situations.

On April 12, 2021, OUC deployed two line crews to help Lakeland Electric repair damage to its electric grid caused by high winds. In late August, OUC sent a 12-member power restoration crew to Lafayette, La., which sought mutual aid in anticipation of incurring catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ida. But Lafayette Utilities System emerged from the Category 4 story in better shape than expected and released OUC’s team to return home.

In 2021, OUC also continued annual hurricane preparedness and response training programs, plus implemented a severe cold-weather action plan. The latter move was initiated after freezing conditions in Texas last year February left millions without power.