The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) recently recognized Ocala Electric Utility (OEU), along with 24 additional public power utilities in the state, with the Restoring Communities Award.
This award recognizes public power utilities that have either provided aid to fellow public power communities following significant weather events or received mutual aid while providing exemplary service to their own community in the aftermath of significant emergency events.
Florida public power utilities were recognized for their efforts to restore power quickly and safely when called upon. This not only included providing mutual aid assistance following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, but for other weather and non-weather-related emergencies and outages that occurred both in and out of the state.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Nicole, OEU sent 11 employees to assist the City of Lakeland with restoration efforts. This past summer, OEU employees were also dispatched to Gainesville Regional Utilities to provide assistance following a severe weather event.
“Whether the need stems from a huge event – such as the volume of mutual aid coordinated for one of Florida’s most destructive hurricanes ever – to a smaller event that requires an extra truck or an extra set of hands, Florida public power utilities are always there for their fellow public power communities,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director.
Zubaly continued by stating, “While our investments in grid hardening are paying off in big ways with fewer outages and faster restoration times, knowing there will be someone to lean on when needed is one of the best parts of this nationwide system of mutual aid support. Congratulations to all the Florida public power utilities recognized for being part of that system.”
“We are proud to serve our fellow public power utilities and are grateful to those who have come to our aid in the past,” stated Doug Peebles, OEU director. “Being part of this national network of support is one of the unique benefits of public power. Community is important to us – our community here locally and the other communities across the country who are all part of the public power system.”
Mutual aid agreements enable electric utilities to call on each other for skilled emergency workers and supplies. Public power utilities across the country benefit from the network of mutual assistance partners through the American Public Power Association.
According to FMEA, these connections have created a reliable system where member utilities request for help and lend a hand whenever there is a need. FMEA serves as the mutual aid coordinator for Florida’s 33 public power utilities.
For more information, contact Ocala Electric Utility at 352-629-2489 or visit the organization’s webpage.