Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Preparing for Restoration

Crews from Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative SVEC have been in the field since about 1:00 this afternoon assessing the damage done to the co-op’s distribution system by Hurricane Idalia.

From these assessment activities, a plan for restoring service to the cooperative’s consumer-members as safely and quickly as possible is being prepared. The first steps of that plan will be carried out beginning at first light tomorrow by 84 lineworkers from SVEC and local contractors. Thirty-six right of way (ROW) specialists will aid the lineworkers by clearing fallen trees and limbs out of their way.

One-hundred additional lineworkers are due to arrive later tomorrow from some of Alabama’s electric cooperatives, and 72 additional ROW contractors have been requested.

The damage done to our lines, poles and transformers is extensive, says SVEC’s CEO Mike McWaters. “And even though we have arranged for a lot of help from contractors and other cooperatives, it’s going to take a while to get everyone’s power back on.”

Damage done to the transmission lines feeding 10 of SVEC’s 13 substations is adding to the challenge of restoring power to the co-op’s consumer-members. SVEC is working with the owners of those lines, Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light, to get power flowing again as soon as possible.

Manager of Power Technical Systems Trevor Touchton briefs "bird dogs" on information learned during damage assessment and the plan for restoring power. Bird dogs are SVEC employees who will lead crews from contractors and mutual aid cooperatives to trouble spots throughout SVEC's 2,100 square mile service area.