JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA crews headed to South Carolina Saturday morning to help restore power following Hurricane Florence. More than 50 JEA crews volunteered to help our neighbors to the north who are dealing with massive flooding, power outages and damage from the storm.
It's not the first trip for JEA working foreman Christopher Richardson. He said he’s worked roughly 20 storms.
“It’s a good feeling. You get out there and start getting people's lights on. You can hear them screaming for blocks,” said Richardson.
The crews will assist Santee Cooper, the public power provider for South Carolina, which has a give-and-take sort of agreement with JEA. Santee Cooper assisted JEA last year when Hurricane Irma came barreling through Jacksonville.
“Its returning a favor," said Richardson. "We all work together. Everyone’s got the same goal in mind: get everyone comfortable and happy and as normal as we can, as fast as we can.”
Some of the challenges JEA crews say they will face is downed power lines and trees as well as flooding.
“We’re concerned about the flooding as far as getting into places and getting the power back on,” said JEA electric maintenance coordinator Matthew Stafford.
Despite leaving his family behind, Richardson said the hard work is rewarding.
“When you pull into a neighborhood that’s been out for five days, six days they go from being really mad to really excited that you’re there, even if it takes a couple days to get it back on,” he said.