Gulf Power crews at the ready for possible storm outages
While much of Florida braces for Hurricane Irma’s trek up the western coast of the state, Gulf Power has activated its McCrary Storm Center and is monitoring the storm and evaluating its potential impact on Northwest Florida. Based on current forecasts, the energy provider predicts that approximately 20,000 customers in Northwest Florida may lose power as a result of severe winds — with the majority of the outages occurring in and around the Bay County area.
As the storm continues to move and shift, that number may change. Customers in the hardest hit areas should prepare to be without power for, possibly, up to two days.
“Irma has the potential to cause significant outages in Gulf Power’s service footprint, especially in the Bay County area,” said Rick DelaHaya, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Crews are already responding to smaller outages caused by feeder bands from the storm in Panama City, and are ready for severe winds as well.”
Gulf Power line crews will work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power. However, there’s a point where it is no longer safe for crews to work.
“Due to the predicted winds, there may be a time when our crews have to hunker down and wait out the storm,” added DelaHaya. “Winds must be below 35 mph for crews to safely begin restoring power and they will resume restoration when we can safely get our trucks back on the road.”
Delahaya added that Gulf Power will be bringing additional lineworkers from the western end of their service area to ensure there are enough resources to get the lights back on quickly and safely, and then the plan is to deploy crews to help in other affected areas in the Southeast that are predicted to have major to catastrophic damage.
“Restoring power to our Gulf Power customers will be our priority. After we take care of everyone right here at home, we are prepared to send more than 100 personnel to assist with power grid rebuilding and restoration in the southeast,” said DelaHaya. “But our priority is to restore our customers’ power, and we will work day and night until everyone’s lights are back on.”
Along with crew and team member preparedness, Gulf Power has also invested more than $225 million in storm hardening projects across the region. With recent and ongoing storm hardening, substation upgrades and upgrading infrastructure using the latest technologies to reduce power outages, Gulf Power customers are experiencing fewer outages than in any time in recent history. In fact, investments in the power grid have improved reliability for the utility’s more than 460,000 customers.
Customers can get more detailed storm information on the Gulf Power Storm Ready Center webpage.
How customers can connect with us:
• Sign up for free PowerOut alerts through your cell phone by texting REG to MyGulf (694853). Or, visit the Preference Center in the My Account area of MyGulfPower.com to choose whether to receive texts, emails or phone calls with outage updates.
• Gulf Power knows when your power is out. However, you can call 1-800-487-6937 if you have any questions about your outage.
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