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09/27/2004 ~ Keys Energy Services (KEYS) Transmission & Distribution (T&D) crews departed for Ft. Pierce, Florida, at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, September 27, 2004, to aid in the restoration of power in the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne.

KEYS sent a crew of six linemen and five vehicles to help in the restoration efforts in Ft. Pierce. Crew members aiding in restoration efforts are Pedro Arencibia, Ray Baker, George Castellon, Danny Garcia, Tommy Grassi, and Bryan Veliz. The six linemen anticipate staying in Ft. Pierce for seven days, however, this date may be extended if more work remains to be done.

T&D employees also recently returned from Hurricane Charley and Frances power restoration efforts.

KEYS dispatched a T&D crew to the city of Wauchula, Florida, and one to Kissimmee, Florida to help reestablish their power grids in the aftermath of Charley. The six linemen selected to represent KEYS in the restoration efforts were 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. 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.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Frances, KEYS crews were dispatched to Clewiston and Ft. Pierce where they helped in the restoration of power before they were called back to the Keys in anticipation of Hurricane Ivan. After Key West and the Florida Keys were no longer in the direct path of Ivan, KEYS Crews were dispatched to Vero Beach to finish up Hurricane Frances restoration efforts.

KEYS Hurricane Frances crew included Walter Cashwell, Albert Fernandez, James Newton, Marc Palka, Jerry Pita, Alvaro Rodriguez, and Bryan Veliz.

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.
“Our restoration time after Hurricane Georges was greatly reduced by the out pouring of help from our fellow linemen throughout the state and region,” said Chuck Vinson, Assistant Director of Electrical Operations. “Whenever we see fellow utilities in need, we are more than happy to return the favor.”

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