Our customers know that they can rely on Gresco to deliver the material and services they need to get the job done in an emergency situation. When a Category 5 hurricane threatened the Florida coast in 2017, Gresco and SECO — the third largest electric co-op in Florida — began round-the-clock storm response efforts to restore electricity and critical infrastructure for SECO’s affected customers.

A Category 5 Hurricane Surges Toward SECO Energy

Supplying power components and services throughout the Southeastern United States for more than 60 years, Gresco is all-too familiar with the devastating impacts of tropical weather. Yet few storms present as many challenges as a Category 5 hurricane, especially one that reached the magnitude of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Stretching 650 miles, this monster of a storm became the strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, outside of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. While the storm was incredibly strong, its movement was also painfully slow, which left Florida residents bracing for its arrival for more than a week.

The wait was especially agonizing for SECO Energy, a not-for-profit electric cooperative supplying electricity to more than 210,000 families and businesses across seven counties in Central Florida. Since being established in 1938, SECO has grown from a small rural cooperative into the third largest electric co-op in Florida and one of the largest in the nation. After Hurricane Irma barreled through several Caribbean islands with devastating winds, heavy rain and life-threatening storm surge, the storm set its eye on Florida. Fully aware of the area’s vulnerability, Gresco and SECO had fortunately spent days before the hurricane preparing to respond to the overwhelming electrical needs that would undoubtedly result from a storm of such size and strength.

“Gresco worked with us to prepare the supplies they expected us to need and deliver them in a very innovative way, I have to give Gresco credit because they have always been available for help and support, and willing to come out in the field at a moment’s notice and resupply us to keep the restoration going.”

Gene Kanikovsky, Chief Financial Officer at SECO Energy.

Building on a Foundation of Trust

Hurricane Irma eventually made landfall in Marco Island, Florida, with winds exceeding 115 miles per hour. Due to the massive impact of the storm, the area lost 60% of power overnight. The morning after the storm arrived, Gresco was on the scene to deliver the supplies reserved for SECO for service restoration, which included transformers, poles, wire, splices, connectors, cables and other electrical materials. Then, Gresco immediately started sourcing additional components to ensure uninterrupted flow during the restoration that SECO needed.

“Gresco was working hard to supply everything they possibly could, their crews were always there for us, working long hours around the clock.”

Travis Walton, Supply Chain Manager at SECO.

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, SECO had more than 1,000 crew members working to restore electricity and critical infrastructure for SECO’s affected customers. After six days of round-the-clock storm restoration efforts, electricity was restored to 100% of SECO’s customers that were able to accept service. “It’s very hard to find a vendor that you can have that level of trust, customer service and assurance with,” Mr. Walton added. “Gresco goes above and beyond every time we ask for hurricane assistance.” While Hurricane Irma was an overwhelming storm, it was no match for the powerful partnership that SECO and Gresco have enjoyed for decades. “Our relationship with Gresco is very unique,” explained Mr. Kanivovsky. “Gresco finds the best providers and suppliers, and it offers an extra level of customer service that is truly outstanding in every way.”