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FPU helps in Sandy’s wake

Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm

FPU gives aid

Fayetteville Public Utilities sent eight electric linemen and four trucks to help restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Pictured (from left) are Benge Dunivan, Todd Gleghorn, Greg Wicks, Bruce Fears, Tim Shelton, A.J. Russell, Mike Buntley and Lewis Steelman.

On Oct. 27, Fayetteville Public Utilities sent eight electric linemen and four trucks to help restore power along the Atlantic Seaboard in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a hybrid superstorm, that left millions without power after pounding the coast with 70-mile per hour winds, torrential rains and flooding, and then left much of the Appalachia Mountain area covered in several inches of snow.

The FPU crew was dispatched as Hurricane Sandy approached the Atlantic Coast to allow utility workers a staging process to respond quickly to the power outages once it was safe to begin working.

FPU’s crew worked in the Choptank Electric Cooperative area, headquartered in Denton, Maryland. Choptank EC serves about 50,000 customers in nine counties along the eastern shore: Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and Worchester. The men worked 16-hour days to replace poles that were damaged by the hurricane and restrung electric wires to help restore power to the residents.

Officials estimate around 60 workers or more from across the state of Tennessee that assisted with power restoration in Maryland and surround areas.

“This type of emergency assistance is made possible due to a mutual aid agreement between the rural electric companies in these states and in Tennessee,” said FPU’s CEO and General Manager Britt Dye.

“We are glad to be able to help out in times of emergency like this when we are able,” said Dye. “If ever FPU has an emergency situation, and we are in need of assistance from surrounding rural utilities, we know we can count on others to come to our aid.”

The FPU crew spent five days restoring power to the Choptank EC area and returned home on Nov. 2. Those assisting in the Hurricane Sandy restoration effort were Lewis Steelman, Greg Wicks, Mike Buntley, Bruce Fears, Tim Shelton, Todd Gleghorn, A.J. Russell and Benge Dunivan.

“It is great to have a good group of employees who volunteer to help out in other states, to represent FPU and lend a helping hand when it’s needed.”