BERLIN – A national organization issued a commendation to Berlin Electric in recognition of the department’s efforts to help restore power in Florida following Hurricane Irma.
The American Public Power Association (APPA) recognized the town’s electric department for its mutual aid response last year in Hurricane Irma recovery efforts in Florida.
“They awarded our Berlin Electric Utility Department a mutual aid commendation for their efforts to go and in an emergency help residents and property owners in Orlando last year when they had a series of terrible hurricanes,” Mayor Gee Williams said.
The town sent a crew to Orlando, Florida, in September of 2017 to help with hurricane recovery efforts. Electric Utility Director Tim Lawrence and Alan Parkinson, chief lineman, and Claude Littleton, a lineman, made the trip. They spent four days restoring power to residents and businesses served by the Orlando Utilities Commission, the second largest municipal utility in Florida.
“We got there at about 10 at night and the first thing we had to do was sit through a safety orientation that was put on by Orlando Power,” Lawrence said.
The crew was advised to watch out for water moccasins and alligators as they worked. They were also warned to be cognizant of the weather.
“The very first day it got up to 100 degrees,” Lawrence said. “The heat index was 113.”
Lawrence said he and the two linemen spent days working to restore power with other volunteers, who’d come from 16 different states. By the time they left, there were fewer than 10 homes without power.
Williams praised the three employees who made the trip as well as those from Berlin’s small electric department who remained in town.
“We’re a small utility,” Williams said. “We made sure there were folks here. They split up the support that we have and were able to show critical assistance where it was needed. We’re so thankful we haven’t had to be on the receiving end.”