A resident from Orlando, Florida contacted the Pratt City office to thank them for sending such nice Kansas linemen to help restore power in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Pratt city electrical linemen who went south to help restore power in Hurricane Irma's wake through Florida have received a big thank you from a local resident there.
Lois Payne, 86, and her daughter Lynn Weir took pictures of the crew as they were cleaning up and restoring power in her yard on Tuesday. She emailed that the Kansas boys were so sweet and kind and they were so very thankful for the Downtown Orlando Angels from Kansas, as she called them.
According to Lou Kramer at the Pratt City office, brief communication between the office and the Pratt lineman reveals they are working hard and getting very tired, but everything is going really well.
"Ironically, they left their Orlando hotel on Monday morning at 5:30 that first morning they could get out, and when they got back in after a long day at 7:30 p.m., they had no electricity," Kramer said. "It is very hot there and with windows that don't open, it can be miserable."
Nevertheless, the Pratt contingent has said they are happy to be able to help the area they were assigned in Orlando and are moving quickly through the neighborhoods getting power restored. They expect to be released on Friday to go to another town for continued electrical work.
"Jamie (Huber) said he hopes they could be back home in two weeks," Kramer said. "But it still all depends on what more needs to be done."
Huber is a foreman over a group of 30 workers, many who came from Kansas. The Pratt group drove their own bucket truck and Huber's city-owned truck to a designated control station, a Florida utility commission which has 1,200 of its own workers out on the job. Linemen from all over the country have responded to the need for help in reaching the 6.5 million electric customers were left without power, or nearly two-thirds of the state after the hurricane roared through Florida.
At their peak, the Orlando power outages due to Hurricane Irma topped 145,000 according to the Orlando Utilities Commission. Wednesday morning, the Orlando’s utility outage map showed around 91,000 outages meaning that approximately 54,000 customers had service restored as crews were repairing damages since the response began. While across Florida, nearly a million customers had restored service on Monday.
The Kansas crews were part of over 44,000 electric workers responding to Florida to assist electric utilities across the State of Florida and the hurricane impacted states. The Kansas utilities coordinated by Kansas Municipal Utilities teamed up with the municipal electric crews responding from Missouri through the Missouri Public Utilities Association to assist Orlando. Crews were dispatched to Florida from municipal systems as far away as Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin as part of a coordinated national response with the American Public Power Association.
Kramer relayed that the areas the Pratt crew worked in were mostly affected by high winds and tree damage and not as much flooding as other places. The next area they are assigned to may be different.
Huber was joined in the mission of electrical assistance by Jeff Hoffman, Parker Rea, Tyler Marcus and Jose Moncayo. He said that only thing he was not looking forward to was the very long drive home. It took the crew two and a half days to get to Orlando, after leaving Pratt early Thursday last week.
KMU Dispatch contributed to this article.