As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Atlantic coast, Southwest Electric Cooperative crews are among those mobilizing to help.
According to SWEC’s Nick Seiner, at the request of Santee Electric Cooperative in Kingstree, South Carolina, local crews will be among 162 lineworkers from 33 of the state’s electric cooperatives traveling to South Carolina to answer the call for help.
They are part of a “massive show of strength in advance of the storm that currently includes linemen from 11 states” outside the hurricane’s path, according to an Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives news release.
Construction and service crews, including SWEC employees, will gather Friday morning to travel east, in order to be closer to the scene. The crews will remain “out of harm’s way until the storm passes Saturday evening,” the release said.
Crews will assist in the cleanup after the storm has passed and will help with power restoration efforts.
Missouri’s electric cooperatives “have a long history of lending a helping hand” to cooperative peers in “trying times,” the release said.
Missouri crews first helped on the Gulf Coast with Hurricane Ivan relief efforts in 2004, the release said. The most recent deployment was in 2017 when crews traveled to Florida and Georgia following Hurricane Irma.
“The favor has been returned, as Missouri co-ops received assistance restoring power following ice storms in 2007 and 2009,” the release said.
Seiner said details about the help SWEC crews provide following the storm will be released later.
“Out of respect for the privacy and safety of our employees and their families, SWEC will release specifics on our employee's once they have returned home safely,” he said.