A CHANCE to help out devastated Queensland communities has turned into a chance reunion for Warwick man John Gillott.
After travelling north as part of Ergon Energy's Tropical Cyclone Debbie restoration effort, the Warwick work group leader ran into old mate, Innisfail live lineman Anis Mani, meeting up again after more than 30 years of working at opposite ends of the state.
The old mates were overjoyed to run into each other at Club Crocodile in Airlie Beach, which is one of many bases being used by Ergon for crews restoring power in the Whitsundays.
Mr Gillott said it had been great catching up with Anis again.
"We became good mates when we did three training modules in Brisbane all those years ago," he said.
Mr Mani, now an Ergon employee, was an apprentice at the time and flew from his home in Papua New Guinea to attend lines school.
Mr Mani said the reunion with Mr Gillott, and the good memories that followed, made his day.
"We were brothers," he said.
"I rang my missus afterwards and said 'that was the best time of my life'."
Mr Gillot, who is a veteran of many disaster recovery efforts, including after Cyclone Yasi, initially worked with his Warwick crew in Bowen for a couple days, before heading into the worst-affected areas around Proserpine and Airlie Beach.
Mr Gillott said the work had been challenging.
"But very rewarding and we'll stay on until power is restored to all customers if requested," he said.
Mr Gillott and Mr Mani are among more than 900 Ergon Energy and Energex crews working in the cyclone-impacted area restoring power.
Corporate communications manager John Fowler said Ergon had already restored power to 86% of cyclone-impacted customers and were two days ahead of schedule.