Huntsville Utilities has crews on standby to help with hurricane relief

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Hundreds of thousands of Alabama households are already without power as Hurricane Sally nears landfall.

In an effort to get the lights back on in a timely manner Huntsville Utilities is on standby and ready to lend a hand.

Huntsville Utilities Communications Director Joe Gehrdes says the mutual aid effort for Hurricane Sally is being coordinated by Electric Cities of Alabama, a trade association that represents all the municipal utilities in the state.

Gehrdes says electric systems are most exposed to damage in storms like Sally, but the utility is prepared to help with gas and water system repairs as well.

The mutual aid effort is well coordinated by organizations and agencies that are experienced in disaster relief. The main priority is safety for all workers.

“The lineworkers that do this work, they are amazing people,” Gehrdes said. “They love to get in there and help with the repair and restoration. Of course we harp on safety, safety, safety… and so you want that experience going in there so that things are done in a safe manner and done as quickly as possible.”

Gehrdes says utilities are very careful to request mutual aid because if the event is not declared a disaster or an emergency then that utility is on the hook to pay for the assistance.

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