GLASGOW — Six linemen with Farmers RECC left Tuesday morning headed for Hilliard, Georgia to help the Okefenokee REMC there in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
The Okefenokee REMC serves in and around the Jacksonville, Florida area.
The hurricane was moving northwest, parallel to the eastern Florida coastline, said The National Weather Service on its website Tuesday afternoon.
The NWS was also reporting that life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds were expected on Tuesday along the Florida east coast and the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
“Basically, they will be helping to restore service after the hurricane moves through. The cooperative they are assisting will have to kind of assess their system and see where they are at and then they will start the process of restoring service,” said Caralyne Pennington, director of member and public communications for Farmers RECC.
The linemen will remain in Georgia for as long as they are needed, she said.
The six Farmers RECC employees are part of a group of 50 line workers that deployed on Tuesday from various electric cooperatives across the state to Okefenokee REMC.
The Kentucky electric cooperatives with crews assigned to Dorian recovery, in addition to Farmers RECC, are: Clark Energy, Cumberland Valley, Fleming Mason Energy, Jackson Energy, Kenergy, Meade County RECC, Nolin RECC, Owen Electric, Salt River Electric, Shelby Energy, South Kentucky RECC and Warren RECC, said a press release issued on Tuesday by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.
The mutual aid response is coordinated by KEC. The statewide association of Kentucky's 26 electric co-ops participates in daily conference calls with similar co-op organizations in southeastern states to asses potential needs and pair recipient co-ops with available crews and equipment from Kentucky. In addition, Kentucky co-ops have also released dozens of construction and right-of-way contract crews to response to Hurricane Dorian, the KEC press release said.
On Wednesday, an additional eight Kentucky linemen are set to join the 50 that were deployed on Tuesday to the Okefenokee REMC and the 25 Kentucky co-op line workers that were also deployed on Tuesday to the Excelsior EMC also in Georgia, the press release said.
Crews with the South Kentucky RECC and Nolin RECC were the first Kentucky crews to deploy. They were sent to Satilla REMC in Georgia. Of those who went, 14 from South Kentucky RECC began their drive to Georgia on Sunday, while 10 from Nolin RECC left on Monday morning, the press release said.
It is possible Farmers RECC will send more employees to help with the relief effort.
“If it's going to be a really long duration we may get those guys back at some point and then send fresh crews down there if it's going to be a really extended restoration,” Pennington said.
This is not the first time Kentucky line workers have been deployed to assist in the time of need.
In October 2018 more than 100 Kentucky line workers were sent to help with recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael in Georgia and Virginia, and in March 2018 more than 80 Kentucky line workers were sent to help restore power in Virginia following Winter Storm Riley, the press release said.