A tribute to all utility and power equipment techs who helped families through the 2017 hurricanes
When you think of someone who puts his/her life at stake to help others, a marine or police officer may come to mind. When you think of an emergency phone number, 9-1-1 comes to mind. You may not have imagined a plumber or electrician fitting that mold. But according to Pro Publica, cell tower technician is deemed one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Electrician also is on the top 10 most dangerous jobs list. Those who climb tall towers to restore power risk their lives, especially during natural disasters.
Atlantic Hurricane Season Damages
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is a testament to field technicians who risked their lives to restore household electricity. The service techs left behind their loved ones and worked long hours in danger zones where they risked their lives. CNN reported that Texas and Louisiana got 51 inches of rain during Hurricane Harvey from August 17 to September 3. Imagine how many families lost electricity during this time! On the following Friday, 72,000 people were rescued. Although officers helped survivors find shelter, utility repairmen and electricians alike helped families get their homes in order afterward.
Why We Care
Here at MSI Data, we provide world class field service software for the HVAC, manufacturing, distribution and cable industries. To deliver the best mobilized software solutions in field service, we educate ourselves on the hard work involved in field service. With this tribute, we want to honor the noble field technicians who risked their lives to help thousands of families after Hurricane Irma and Harvey.
Below are just a few companies that went above and beyond to help hurricane survivors get back on their feet this year.
- Generac Power Systems After Hurricane Harvey, many families bought electricity generators when rebuilding their homes. Generac Power Systems was one particularly busy company during this time. Journal Sentinel reported that Generac’s distribution center employees worked overtime to send portable generators to Houston, as well as standby generators to prevent power loss.
- CenterPoint Energy, Inc. Throughout Hurricane Harvey, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. used smart meters that displayed areas with power outages to visit. By Aug 29, CenterPoint’s service technicians restored electricity for 96% of their customers. Some workers are still helping customers today. On Sept. 1, CenterPoint donated $1.25 million to assist in additional relief efforts, as well as $300,000 to employees in the service territory. They also encouraged employees to donate to Centerpoint’s relief fund and contribute volunteer hours to helping families. Crews are still working although flooded streets complicate the process.
- We Energies We Energies sent out 100+ contractors to help families with power restoration when Hurricane Irma began. On September 13, We Energies dispatched 34 additional electricians. Many of these workers left behind their loved ones to help despite being told the job may take three weeks. In the end, the team spent two 16-hour days in rural northeast Atlanta, where residents lived for many days without electricity. The Liberty Baptist Church thanked the the crew with meals and a public Facebook shout-out. Once the team came home, electricians from Wisconsin Public Service (sister company) went to Florida, where they’re still helping restore power in households.
- Florida Power & Lighting Over 11,000 Florida Power & Lighting electricians worked 24/7 to restore service in Collier, Glades and Lee Counties after Irma. These areas have many fallen trees, debris and isolated flooding, which crews spent hours cleaning before restoration. One technician from FLP’s partner company became severely injured on the job. By Sep 20, technicians restored service for almost 4.4 million customers, which is 99% percent of Florida residents who lost electricity. Only about 5% of customers still need service today, and techs are still helping. FLP also set up sites with charging stations, WiFi, water, and customer service assistance which give customers additional resources as they rebuild their homes.
By Aug 31, Generac sent six technicians to the disaster zone to repair people’s units for free, including non-Generac brands. Generac also created a hurricane preparedness guide that teaches families how to cope without electricity until repairmen are hired.
To The Rest…
We understand there are many more companies whose service techs helped families through these tragic times. We apologize that we cannot name every company, but we give many thanks to them all. These electricians, plumbers and more have done all they can and worked more than they should have through these tragic times. Getting through natural disasters is beyond hard and takes more than just officers. Nowadays, the media has painted skilled trade careers as not so fulfilling. But this hurricane season proves that service techs are public servants just as much as law enforcement. With our tribute, we hope more people understand the labor, risk and reward in field service and have gained respect for all the world’s service technicians.
How Electricians Gave Hurricane Survivors Back Their Power by Mrinal Gokhale