Though Talquin’s emergency power restoration efforts following Hurricane Michael were completed in October, the full recovery process will take many more months, if not longer, to complete. Below are a couple of updates on items that Talquin is still working through:
- Clean Up – Broken Poles/Damaged Materials: As crews restored power, they left old material (broken poles, crossarms, insulators, etc.) at the base of the poles where the damage occurred. Our crews left this material to be cleaned up later in order to speed up the restoration process. Please know this will take time due to the fact that we have approximately 20,000 pole locations that have material needing to be cleaned up over our 4,400 miles of power lines. We have contracted with MasTec to assist with this process. Crews started in Gadsden and Liberty counties (our hardest hit areas) in December, and their target completion date is by the end of January.
- Trees and Limbs Near Lines: Hanging limbs and leaning trees continue to threaten power lines and cause outages throughout Talquin’s system. Talquin has contract crews that will be assessing the lines and will be removing these trees/limbs. We have contracted with Davey Tree Expert Co. to assist with this process. Crews will start in Gadsden and Liberty counties the first week in January, and their target completion date is early April.
- Outdoor Light Repairs: While Talquin has already repaired 242 outdoor lights as of mid-December, we still currently have over 700 service orders for outdoor lights that need to be repaired. Please be patient and know that Talquin will get to these lights as quickly as possible, but it will take some time. Talquin is providing monthly bill credits to affected accounts. If you have an outdoor light that needs to be repaired, please report it via www.talquinelectric.com/services/report-an-outage/ or call 850-627-7651.
- Financial Impact: In addition to the physical work still being done, Talquin is also working through the financial impacts from the storm restoration efforts. The total financial impact to Talquin caused by Hurricane Michael will total $35 to $40 million. From $3,000,000 in materials and $260,000 in fuel, to over $11,000,000 in labor (Talquin went from a company of less than 200 employees to a total work force of over 800 people during restoration!), all of these items really added up. Though the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse Talquin up 75% of the total expense (this still leaves Talquin with $9 to $10 million of unreimbursed expense), the reimbursement process can take up to two years or longer. Talquin is still waiting on expense reimbursements for Hurricane Irma from back in September 2017. In order to have enough cash to pay expenses associated with Hurricane Michael, Talquin had to borrow money. Even though the co-op has access to low interest loans, Talquin will pay around $1 million annually in interest.
All of these items will take time, and Talquin appreciates everyone’s patience and understanding as we all work through the recovery process together.