Officials warn power outages in some areas could last weeks

Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) personnel could be heading to the Carolinas later this week to help restore power in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Heath Hall, general manager of the HBPW, volunteered earlier this week to be on standby.

"We have been waiting to hear back since Tuesday morning," Hall said. "I expect by the end of the week, we will know if they need us and where we will be going."

If the HBPW's help is needed, Hall said four lineman, a supervisor, two bucket trucks and a half-ton pickup would likely be sent, unless there are requests for specific equipment.

Duke Energy said 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers in the Carolinas could lose electricity as a result of the storm. Meredith Archie, a spokesperson for the utility, said that it could take days to several weeks to fully restore power to all its customers. The National Hurricane Center said power outages will last weeks to possibly months.

The HBPW has a mutual aid agreement through the American Public Power Association (APPA). Hall said that once a municipal utility requests assistance through the APPA, the Missouri Public Utility Alliance (MPUA) is notified. The MPUA then begins contacting public utilities around the state.

HBPW crews assisted in Florida and the Virgin Islands in 2017 for total of 62 days. The HBPW also traveled out of state to restore power following Hurricanes Matthew (2016), Sandy (2012), Ike (2008) and Katrina (2005).

"Our linemen take a lot of pride in restoring power in emergency situations such as hurricanes," Hall said.

Hannibal received assistance following a severe storm in May 2013. Hall said nine Missouri municipal utilities helped restore power throughout the city.

"All it took was one phone call, and the next day, there were 30 extra lineman ready to help us," Hall said.

danny.henley@courierpost.com