Fennimore – After being devastated by two rare Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, back in September, efforts to restore power in the United States Virgin Islands have been ongoing. Now, 11 crew members from Wisconsin-based municipally owned utilities are being dispatched to aid in the recovery effort. The Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin (MEUW) is comprised of 81 cities and villages that operate their own electric utility. “All of the crew members headed to the US Virgin Islands are doing so voluntarily and at a time of year most people don’t want to be away from their families.” said MEUW Job Training &Safety Instructor Steve Hedden.
Just this past September, over 40 MEUW crew members were among the first on the scene to restore power in Florida. “Time and again, when the call for help goes out, our members respond no matter how limited their resources,” Hedden added.
The crew is scheduled to work 12 to 14 hour days for the next 30 days.
Utility workers from Rice Lake, Clintonville, Reedsburg, Two Rivers, Arcadia, Fennimore, Marshfield, and the MEUW will be working on the island of St. Croix to restore power. Three months after the hurricanes, over 50% of the population still does not have power. Wisconsin’s municipal crews hope to make an impact on the number using their skills and equipment.
Fennimore Municipal Utilities is supplying 1 crew member, Gary Smith, who is an apprentice electric lineman.