In what seems like an annual occurrence of helping put communities back together after Mother Nature unplugs them for a bit, Kissimmee Utility Authority line crews went to Lakeland last weekend to assist with the restoration of power after an EF-2 tornado that was part of the circulation of Tropical Storm Nestor spun through northwest Polk County after sunset on Friday.
The KUA crews were joined by those of the Orlando Utilities Commission, Lakeland Electric, Ocala Electric Utility and Gainesville Regional Utilities, who sent a convoy of vehicles and supplies to assist crews to restore service to 10,000 customers put in the dark by the tornado. The KUA crews returned home Monday.
It’s all part of a mutual-aid agreement with utilities statewide, and it’s become commonplace.
In 2017, KUA crews provided mutual aid to utilities in Orlando, Lakeland, Key West and Puerto Rico following hurricanes Irma and Maria, and helped in the Tallahassee area in 2016 for Hurricane Hermine and 2018 when Hurricane Michael slammed the Panhandle. They went all the way to suburban New York and upstate Pennsylvania in 2012 in the disastrous wake of Superstorm Sandy.