Eau Claire Energy Cooperative leaves for Florida to aid in Irma relief efforts
Eau Claire Energy Co-op's crew, (left to right) Issac, Kris, Josh and Nate. Courtesy: Eau Claire Energy Cooperative
Wisconsin (WQOW) - Volunteers from an electric co-op company are headed to Florida to aid in disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Irma ripped through the Sunshine State.
On Monday, 50 volunteer line crews from 18 Wisconsin electric cooperatives, including four crew members from Eau Claire Energy Cooperative, left to Florida. On Thursday, the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association, a statewide trade group, put out a call for help, anticipating Irma's landfall on Sunday morning.
Co-op vehicles, including bucket trucks, pole-hauling trailers and digging equipment, departed from local headquarters across Wisconsin, including in Eau Claire, Oakdale, Portage and Janesville. According to Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, the convoys plan to reach Florida by late Wednesday afternoon.
Volunteers are assigned to assist with rebuilding efforts at Clay Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Keystone Heights, Florida. As of Monday morning, Clay Electric reported about 130,000 of its customers are without power.
In a press release, Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association stated the relief mission is similar to efforts it completed 12 years ago following Hurricane Katrina, where 14 Wisconsin co-op volunteers were dispatched over a four-week period to Louisiana.