MOORE HAVEN — A crew of five Glades Electric Cooperative linemen returned late on Friday, Sept. 25, after spending a week near Summerdale, Ala. The GEC crew traveled to the Gulf Coast community located between Mobile and Pensacola in response to a call for assistance from Baldwin Electric Membership Corporation following extensive damage from Hurricane Sally.
Baldwin is the largest electric cooperative in Alabama, serving more than 80,000 members in the southwestern part of the state. The cooperative took a direct hit from the storm, leaving 95% of their membership without power. Power was lost to 17 of their 22 substations, and 2,000 power poles and more than 4,000 spans of power line were lost, according to Baldwin EMC.
Glades Electric’s crew was made up of linemen from GEC’s north and south districts — Lead Lineman Kyle Altman, Lead Lineman James Nipper, Journeyman Lineman David Rice, Journeyman Lineman Horacio Pardo and Journeyman Lineman Wyatt Larsen.
The majority of the damage GEC crews encountered was due to downed trees, and the team spent much of their 17-hour workdays replacing damaged lines. At night, the crews were housed in a camp of semi-trailers, each containing 36 bunks for linemen, Altman said.
“They had a lot of flooding and all the roads were torn up, but most of the damage to lines was from trees,” Altman said. “Their residents were so appreciative. They were cooking meals for us before we even had their power restored. It felt good to be able to go help people.”
“Cooperation among Cooperatives” is a guiding principle of the electric cooperative model, so when Baldwin EMC asked for help, Glades Electric was one of 92 cooperatives that answered the call. Three years ago this month, Glades Electric received the same outpouring of support from cooperative crews who came to assist with power restoration following Hurricane Irma.
Glades Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit electric utility cooperative established in Moore Haven in 1945 serving over 16,000 accounts in Glades, Hendry, Highlands and Okeechobee counties.