Minnesota utility crews head to Florida to make sure people have - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota utility crews head to Florida to make sure people have electricity

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Approximately 16 municipal utility companies from around the state met up at Rochester Public Utilities Saturday morning to go over the game plan and gather equipment and supplies before heading to Florida.

They love what they do, and despite the possibility of hitting the storm right as they get to Kissimmee, Florida they know it's what they have to do.

"When Texas got hit, a lot of the other electrical companies in the southern area moved over to Texas to help out. And now they're short-handed, and with this big of a storm coming in they're asking for some of the northern boys to come down and help out," said Rochester Public Utilities Lead Lineman Chuck Floeter. "We could be driving right down into it. We're really not sure what to expect, I suppose by the time we hit the border it's probably gonna hitting us."

They are leaving their families, for weeks or even months, to help those in need.

"It's kinda hard to leave family back here 'cause we might be gone for quite a while," said Floeter. "That puts a lot of pressure on them."

The plan is to have them report to the local public power provider Kissimmee Utility Authority in Kissimmee Florida, and prepare to help customers in that area or where needed.

"We wanna keep the lights on. It doesn't matter if it's a little storm up here in Rochester or if it's a big hurricane down in Florida, I don't know it's kind of like our war. That's what we wanna do - we wanna go down there, and we wanna fight, we wanna get the lights back on," said Floeter.

They'll work 16 hours to a day to do that.

"All the lines could be ripped down. And basically we could be staring over from scratch, rebuilding it new," said Floeter.

They said a prayer, said 'see you later' to their families, and headed south. They are on their way to Kentucky, then Georgia and then Florida. 

The utility crews are headed to Homestead, Clewiston, Kissimmee, Orlando, Fort Pierce, New Smyrna Beach, Gainesville, Lakeland, and Lake Worth. 
Homestead was leveled by Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, in 1992.
 

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