On October 29th IBEW 15 members and ComEd answered yet another call for Mutual Assistance. This time as a result of Hurricane Zeta, the latest weather event to pound the gulf coast during the 2020 hurricane season. Zeta is the fifth storm to hit the Louisiana coast this year, setting a new record. The season has now seen thirty tropical storms, thirty-one tropical depressions, and thirteen hurricanes, six of which have risen to Category 3 or higher. Zeta left over two million people out of power over a seven state area.
ComEd sent one-hundred and six employees to this effort including Crew Leaders, OH Electricians, Mechanics, Material Handlers, and Clerks as well as Supervisors.
Winds associated with the storm reached sustained speeds of 80-90 miles per hour in Mississippi and Alabama while Louisiana reported wind gusts reaching 112 miles per hour in New Orleans. While storm surges were not as severe as in the past, the storm also spawned tornados in four states and influenced weather in New England, causing snow in New York and Massachusetts.
With barely enough time for our travelers to unpack, DTE Energy (formerly Detroit Edison) requested Mutual Assistance. Sustained winds near 40 MPH with frequent gusts over 55 MPH caused 188,000 customers to lose power on November 15th. Fifty one employees including members of Overhead, Fleet and Supply Departments departed the next morning to assist storm restoration in southeastern Michigan, over three hundred miles away. ComEd also “released” forty outside contractors to assist restoration in the Wolverine State.