Pascoag linemen helping to restore power in Florida
BURRILLVILLE — Pascoag Utility District linemen Glen Derby, Chris Piccardi and Doug Menard left for the Florida Panhandle Wednesday morning to assist the public power communities impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The three-man Pascoag crew drove down in a Pascoag Utility District bucket truck that was part of a convoy representing not-forprofit state and local community-owned electric utilities from Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Pascoag Utility is part of mutual aid organizations, both in New England and nation- ally, that provide help on a voluntary basis.
Hurricane Michael hit the Panhandle as a historic Category 4 storm on Wednesday. It was the third-most powerful hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S. mainland. The storm was being blamed for at least two deaths.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 713,000 homes and businesses in the Southeast had no electricity. Michael was a tropical storm, hitting North Carolina and South Carolina with heavy downpours and threatening to cause tornadoes.
The Pascoag Utility District’s
Electric Department is Rhode Island’s only not-for-profit public power utility serving approximately 5,000 customers in the villages of Harrisville and Pascoag. The district, incorporated by a special act of the Rhode Island General Assembly, is a quasi-municipal utility that provides electricity and water on a “not for profit” basis. Pascoag Electric is regulated by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.
Both Piccardi and Menard were in Florida last year to help repair the damage to the state’s power infrastructure caused by Hurricane Irma. Manning a bucket truck, they were part of a convey that represented public power utilities in Norwich, Connecticut, and Belmont, Braintree, Chicopee, Concord, Danvers, Georgetown, Groton, Groveland, Hingham, Holden, Holyoke, Ipswich, Littleton, Mansfield, Marblehead, Middleborough, Middleton, North Attleboro, Norwood, Princeton, Rowley, Sterling, Taunton, Wakefield and Wellesley in Massachusetts.
Piccard and Menard worked 16-hour days assisting the Orlando Utility Commission, a municipally-owned public utility that provides water and electric service to 246,000 customers in Orlan- do, St. Cloud and parts of Orange and Osceola counties.
According to Pascoag Utility District General Manager Michael Kirkwood, Pascoag Utility is providing the restoration assistance as part of a mutual aid agreement between non-profit utilities to help cities and towns recover from storm damage whenever and wherever it occurs.
From left, Pascoag Utility District linemen Glen Derby, Chris Piccardi and Doug Menard are among utility crews from across New England that have traveled to Florida to help restore power to millions of people impacted by Hurricane Michael.