MS electric companies head east to assist in Hurricane Matthew restoration

MS electric companies head east to assist in Hurricane Matthew restoration

MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - Folks around the Pine Belt know what it is like to rebuild after a hurricane.

Crews around the area are preparing to head East to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Mississippi Power is preparing to send more than 90 employees to Georgia to assist its sister company, Georgia Power, in the Restoration Efforts following Hurricane Matthew.

"We're involved in program that's called the Mutual Assistance Program, and basically what that means is if a utility is expected to or has suffered a severe impact from a weather event they can kind of put the call out to their brothers and sisters across the utility industry," Mississippi Power Spokesman Jeff Shepard said.

Pearl River Valley Electric has a similar program. Its planning to send three crews to Sumterville, FL, on Saturday to help its sister company.

"Building new lines, setting poles, stringing wire, and basically restoring power for those that don't have it," General Manger Randy Wallace said.

Shepard and Wallace said the sister companies pay all the expenses when crews from Mississippi are brought in to assist.

"We'll basically have no out-of-pocket expenses ourselves, so as a result our members will not have to assist in payment of that at all," Wallace said. "We'll be completely reimbursed by the cooperative in Florida."

Mississippi Power and Pearl River Valley Electric said they are ready and prepared to help those on the East Coast in what's expected to be a catastrophic event.

"We train for this, and we understand the responsibility that we have to get the lights back on for customers across the South East and it's a responsibility that we take very seriously," Shepard said. "With Katrina, we could have never made restoration to our members in the time frame that we did without assistance from our other sister co-ops over the United States, so anytime the opportunity occurs for us to send help to other co-ops that are distressed, we're more than happy to send our folks out."

Several other groups from the Pine Belt are standing by and preparing to head East during the next few days to assist those affected by Hurricane Matthew. This includes The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.