LAKELAND, FL (November 2, 2012) — Lakeland Electric has 24 linemen and 15 vehicles leaving at 4 a.m. on Saturday, November 3rd to assist the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in restoration efforts. The New York utility serves 1.1 million customers and at the peak 945,000 were without power after Hurricane Sandy devastated the area. LIPA lost 50 substations and 21 hospitals were without power after the storm. As of today, LIPA still has over 500,000 customers without power and it is estimated that some may be without power for weeks.
Rick Bibby, Electric Delivery Operations Manager for Lakeland Electric said, “The line crews will be departing Lakeland early in the morning for the 1,200 mile trek to Hicksville, New York. Once there they will join other utilities from Florida and other states as far away as California to help the customers of the Long Island Power Authority.” He added, “Lakeland has sent 55 contract tree trimmers to assist in the Long Island area earlier this week. We anticipate the restorations will take approximately two weeks.”
Even though LIPA lists over 500,000 customers without power, officials with the utility estimate that there may be as many as 100,000 or so homes and businesses, mostly along Long Island‘s South Shore that have such extensive damage that service cannot be restored until private contractors repair or rebuild them. Michael Hervey, LIPA’s Chief Operating officer said that in some cases, there are no structures left at all.
Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida. The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889. Today, power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two primary base load plant sites, the 937-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 124-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. Lakeland Electric’s total generation capacity is about 1,100 megawatts.