GULFPORT, MS Eight days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Mississippi Power employees and outside workers have restored service to 65 percent of the companys customers who can receive power.
Nearly 110,000 of our customers now have power, said Kurt Brautigam, company spokesman. Because of the progress to date, our goal is to have all customers who can receive power restored by the end of the weekend.
The outside crews are continuing to work in every area of our territory where outages remain. Nearly all customers in the Meridian area were restored yesterday, so the crews working there have been moved south into our Pine Belt and Coast divisions. We expect to see continued progress today.
More than 9,200 transmission and distribution workers from around the country have been brought into the area to assist with the effort. Company officials revised restoration time estimates Monday.
Estimates for restoring service to customers who can receive power include:
September 7: Leakesville, Lucedale, Richton
September 8: Bay St. Louis, Long Beach, Wiggins/Saucier
September 9: Pascagoula/Moss Point, Pass Christian, DeLisle
September 10: Hattiesburg, Laurel
September 11: Biloxi, Gulfport, Picayune, Poplarville
Were asking that customers in areas that have been restored contact us if they still have problems Brautigam said. Because the damage was so widespread and severe, there will be a number of individual customer problems that can be corrected as soon as theyre identified.
We still have much work to do, so were asking that customers remain patient as the crews make their way to areas that have yet to be restored. I can assure you theyre coming.
Customers can report outages by calling 1-800-ITS-DARK (800-487-3275).
Customer restoration totals by division as of 6 a.m. 9/7/05:
Coast 39,988 55%
Pine Belt 34,245 58%
Meridian 35,465 95%
Mississippi Power has also announced the status of its customer service offices.
The following bill payment offices will be open September 7th:
The following bill payment offices will open September 12th:
The opening dates of the following offices have not been determined:
Bay St Louis
Customers can mail bills to the P O Box address on their bill (P O Box 245, Birmingham, AL 35201)
As always, safety is the first priority in any storm restoration effort. Here are some important storm-related tips for customers to consider:
Mississippi Power gives priority to hospitals, water and sewer treatment facilities, police, fire and other critical customers for the overall safety and well-being of the community at large. Individuals with critical medical needs should consider making contingency plans in case power outages last for an extended period of time.
SAFETY FIRST! Stay away from downed lines. Warn others to do the same. Beware of lines that are touching a vehicle. Stay away from the vehicle and the line. Do not drive over lines lying on the road, and do not drive under low hanging lines. Keep children and pets away from downed lines. Always assume a
downed power line is live. Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or anything else
caught in power lines. Call Mississippi Power at 800-ITS-DARK (800-487-3275) or a local law enforcement agency if downed lines are spotted.
Do not connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and to Mississippi Power employees working on the lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances such as freezers and refrigerators directly to the generator.
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area that is away from air intakes to the home and protected from direct exposure to rain or snow. A good location is an open shed, under a canopy or a carport. Never use a portable generator indoors or in attached garages.
Most small gasoline powered generators purchased at home improvement stores are designed for appliances to be plugged directly into them rather than plugging the generator into the home`s wiring. Be sure to use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge that is adequate for the appliance load. If you need to connect a generator directly to your home wiring, it should be done by a qualified electrical contractor, and a switch to disconnect your home wiring from the utility system should be installed and used before connecting the generator.
Having a generator connected directly to household wiring without this switch can result in power from your generator feeding back into utility wires, creating a deadly threat to you, your neighbors and to repair crews.
If there is damage to your meter box or the pole on top of your meter box, you must first have an electrician make repairs before Mississippi Power can restore your service.
If there is flooding in your home or business, Mississippi Power may be unable to restore electric service until the building is inspected by city or county code officials.
Please be patient. Crews restoring service will work as fast as safety allows. Before neighborhood lines can be restored, Mississippi Power crews must first repair substations and larger lines that bring power to neighborhoods.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, serves 195,000 customers in 23 Southeast Mississippi counties. For more information and daily updates on the companys progress toward restoring service, go to www.mississippipower.com.
With more than 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Visit the Southern Company Web site at www.southerncompany.com.