Elk River Municipal Utilites crew members among group headed to help out in wake of Hurricane Irma

Managing Editor

Elk River Municipal Utilities has sent a crew to Florida along with other Minnesota municipal utility line workers.
They deployed early Saturday morning in hopes of beating the storm to Florida and then being in a position to be able to start restoration work sooner.

Elk River Municipal Utilities works directly with Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) and indirectly with American Public Power Association (APPA) to provide assistance when there is a call for mutual aid. We also have great relationships with our neighboring cooperative electric utilities and have often assisted them with storm damage restoration. We believe that assisting others in a time of need is an important part of being “public power.”

“We proudly help others because we know that if the situation were reversed, others would help us,” said ERMU General Manager Troy Adams.

The American Public Power Association (APPA) asked the Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association (MMUA) to organize electric system ‘mutual aid’ crews to head for Kissimmee, Florida in anticipation of substantial storm recovery work that will be needed in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The primary reason that Minnesota crews are being called on in advance of the storm is that ‘Public Power’ systems in the Southeast are either helping with storm recovery in Texas, or keeping their crews at home in anticipation of potential damage from Irma.

As of noon Friday, Minnesota municipal utilities anticipated sending 44 crew members along with a variety of bucket trucks, digger derricks, and other trucks. MMUA will be sending a staff member along to coordinate efforts. Two of them are from ERMU.

People and crews left about 9 p.m. from the Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) Service Center.

Municipal utilities participating in the initial wave of Irma-related mutual aid come from Alexandria, Anoka, Austin, Brainerd, Chaska, Elk River, Grand Rapids, Moorhead, Missouri River Energy Services, New Ulm, Owatonna, Redwood Falls, Rochester, St. James, Shakopee, Sleepy Eye, Marshall Municipal Utilities and MMUA.

The Minnesota crews will use Paducah, Ky., as an initial staging area.

For more on the hurricane mutual aid effort, see the APPA Public Power Daily.