WATERLOO -- Few people are heading into Florida this weekend, as the coastal state prepares for the brunt of category 3 Hurricane Irma. But MidAmerican Energy employees and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Locals 109 and 499 are en route.
MidAmerican Energy announced Friday it is sending 250 employees and contractors to Florida to be in place and prepared to help repair utility infrastructure and restore power after Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall Saturday night.
Of those 250 employees, 11 are coming from the region, according to Adam Jacobi, public relations representative from MidAmerican Energy.
WATERLOO — There’s an old saying that close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Mau…
Seven -- a combination of linemen, supervisors and a mechanic -- are from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area. Another four linemen will be coming from near Charles City and Hampton.
A total of 90 electric line workers and contractors, 16 support staff and 150 contract tree trimmers will be coming from across MidAmerican’s service territory to lend a hand. They are expected to assist with the cleanup for several weeks.
“We are well-prepared and pleased to honor requests for assistance when a natural disaster or severe, widespread weather event occurs,” said James Dougherty, vice president of electric delivery for MidAmerican Energy. “We take our responsibilities as a provider of essential energy services very seriously and understand the importance of helping restore power safely and effectively in any situation.”
IBEW Local 499 business manager Randy Phillips and IBEW Local 109 business manager Tim Wolfe said in a joint statement they’re proud to be a part of helping those impacted by the storm.
“These highly skilled professionals will work safely and efficiently to restore energy services and help the area return to normal, and we look forward to their safe return home when their work in the restoration effort is complete,” they said.
The crews left Friday. They’re stopping in Marion, Ill., for safety briefings, before going to Tennessee and then Lake City, Fla., the initial staging area. From there, the crews will assist where they’re needed locally.
“In times of need, we always look to mobilize resources to assist where we can,” said John Guy, general manager of electric operations for MidAmerican Energy.
Local customer service will not be impacted by the absence of their coworkers, as local crews will have expanded hours and will work to secure additional resources.