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09/03/2004 ~ Keys Energy Services (KEYS) Transmission & Distribution (T&D) crews are ready and available to head to Florida utilities in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Frances.

“We will forever remember the outpouring of help we received from fellow utilities after Hurricane Georges,” said Roger Rewolinski, Director of T&D. “Whenever we see a utility in need, we’re ready to roll.”

One group of T&D employees just returned from Hurricane Charley power restoration efforts.

KEYS dispatched a T&D crew on Monday, August 16th, to the city of Wauchula, Florida, and one to Kissimmee, Florida on Wednesday, August 19th, to help reestablish their power grids in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley.

Six linemen out of 20 were selected to represent KEYS in the restoration effort. They included Pedro Arencibia, George Castellon, Michael Commander, and Tommy Grassi, who were dispatched to Wauchula, and Ray Baker and Vince Casas, who were dispatched to Kissimmee.

The linemen worked 14 plus hour days to re-establish power grids that were 80 percent destroyed in most cases. After almost two weeks of work, KEYS crews returned home on Monday, August 30th. While an earlier return was anticipated, the host utilities requested that KEYS linemen stay on to help for a few extra days due to their efficiency and productivity.

“They are far and above the best linemen I have seen,” said Ray McClellan, Superintendent of Public Works for Wauchula, “they have out produced all others.”

This assistance is possible due to the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Mutual Aid Program that was established, on an informal basis, to provide a method whereby electric utilities sustaining physical damage from natural disasters can obtain emergency assistance, in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services necessary, from other electric utilities.

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