OUC’s mutual aid team has restored power to some of the hardest hit areas of Fairhope, AL.
“Those guys have been amazing. They have been given some of our hardest hit areas and they’ve just been kicking it.”
That’s how Mike Allison, Operations Director of the City of Fairhope (AL.) Public Utilities, on Monday, Sept. 21, described the impact OUC’s mutual aid team has had on power restoration since arriving four days earlier. Allison said the entire city of 22,000 residents lost power after Hurricane Sally came ashore on Sept. 16 as felled trees caused extensive damage to powerlines.
“We are up to 80 percent restored today,” he said.
Jody Rodgers, Line Supervisor of OUC’s 12-member power restoration team in Fairhope, said his crew hit the ground running as soon as it arrived Thursday afternoon. Every day since has started at 6 a.m. and ended around 10 p.m.
“When we first got here I was told, ‘Y’all got the worst there is,’ ” Rodger said, referring to being assigned to hard-hit sections of town. “I don’t know that for sure, but that’s what I heard.”
Allison confirmed Rodgers heard correctly.
Rodgers said he and his team members got a tremendous sense of satisfaction one night after spending a day and a half raising powerlines in a heavily damaged part of the city.
“We went to the substation at about 9 p.m. to watch them throw the station breaker and energize the section we had just completed. I’ve got to tell you, that’s an excellent feeling because you know what you’ve done that day,” he said.
OUC’s presence in town hasn’t gone unnoticed, as Rodgers said his crew receives thumbs-up and thank yous from passers-by (right).
Allison said restoration work is progressing so well that Fairhope Public Utilities could send mutual aid teams home this week.
“I’m amazed at how fast the line crews have gotten power back on,” he said. “We are nothing but appreciative of the mutual aid crews.”
OUC can relate. In 2017, Fairhope sent a mutual aid crew to Orlando after Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida.