SECO Sends Fresh Aid to Panhandle for Hurricane Michael Restoration

SECO Sends Fresh Aid to Panhandle for Hurricane Michael Restoration

SECO Energy has organized a fresh module of employees to travel to Florida’s Panhandle to assist in power restoration.


Hurricane Michael was a powerful Category 4 hurricane with 155 mile per hour winds when it made landfall near Mexico Beach on Wednesday, October 10. At landfall, Hurricane Michael was stronger than the infamous Hurricanes Katrina and Andrew. Almost three weeks after the hurricane ravaged North Florida’s gulf coast, thousands of Floridians remain without power. Over those three weeks, teams of SECO employees and contractors have assisted Tri-County and Talquin Electric Cooperatives with their restoration efforts. Many of those employees are preparing to return home and a new group of employees departed for a utility still in need.


A module of SECO first class line technicians, a superintendent, a crew supervisor, a mechanic and a reliability engineer departed from the SECO Energy headquarters campus early this morning to join the Hurricane Michael restoration effort at Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative headquartered in Wewahitchka. Gulf Coast’s headquarters is located only 22 miles north east of Mexico Beach. Gulf Coast serves 20,000 members in six North Florida counties, approximately 6,500 or thirty-two percent of its members remain without power.


The module who left this morning is the third module of SECO employees sent to the area. On October 11, the day after Hurricane Michael’s landfall, twenty-one SECO employees traveled first to Tri-County Electric Cooperative in Madison to help restore Tri-County’s electric system. Once released, SECO employees joined the restoration effort at Talquin Electric Cooperative headquartered in Quincy. After additional employees joined in the effort, thirty-four SECO employees have been working in Talquin’s territory for over a week.


Talquin’s restoration effort is almost complete and the co-op has begun releasing out-of-area crews. Of the employees working on Talquin’s system, twenty-two will return home later today, and four will join the SECO module who left SECO’s headquarters this morning to restore power to Gulf Coast members. The majority of SECO’s overhead and tree trimming contract crews remain in the hurricane ravaged area.


CEO Jim Duncan stated, “The restoration effort after Hurricane Michael has been a long, time-consuming process. As a cooperative, SECO believes in helping its neighbors and answering the call when our fellow utilities need assistance. SECO and its employees are honored to be in a position to lend our resources and help where we can.”


Duncan added, “Working with energized lines is inherently dangerous, and power restoration after a major hurricane is even more dangerous. In Florida, 35 deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Michael including three of our fellow line personnel who were killed while working in Chipley. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these linemen. I pray for the safety of our crews and contractors who are working in the area, and for all who are working to rebuild after Hurricane Michael.”


Vice President of Operations John LaSelva stated, “Once again, SECO employees are willing to leave their families to work with neighboring utilities to help restore power. When we asked for volunteers, SECO employees didn’t hesitate. They understand how important an everyday necessity like electricity is to these families. Three weeks without electricity is a long time. I am proud of our employees and pray for their safety.”


SECO Traveling Module Team Members:


• Roy Fort
• Kenny Davis
• Terrill Cuyler
• Paul Gannon
• Adan Ybarra
• David Boone
• Cody Chandler
• Michael Gonzalez
• Logan Land
• Kyle Stephenson
• Justin Little
• Kyle Rich
• Frank Ray
• Matt Akins
• Will Smith
• Jimmy Johns
• Austin Ferguson
• Brian Bailey
• Jimmy Bedgood
• Andy Andrews
• Bill Durham
• Vic Singer
• Mark Cummings
• Wayne Taylor
• Byon Smiddy
• Darren Adkins
• Jeff Jowers
• Robert Scott
• Gary Lamb
• Mark McIntosh
• Vic Keesling
• Brian Jefferson
• Chris Reynolds


SECO Energy provides online resources to help families prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes. Visit our Storm Preparation page online to view an emergency checklist, generator safety information and storm preparation tips. Bookmark SECO’s StormCenter outage map on your smartphone and tablets to easily access the outage reporting platform. Enroll to receive outage communications via voice, text or email. StormCenter is available online.


“Like” SECO’s Facebook page and “follow” @SECOEnergy on Twitter for news releases and cooperative updates. Visit the Your Co-op page online to learn more about SECO’s corporate citizenship and other community outreach initiatives.

Leave a Reply