GULFPORT, MS As of 6 p.m. Saturday, Mississippi Power employees and outside workers had finished restoring service to all customers who could receive it, 12 days after the companys electric system was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Nearly 169,000 of the companys 195,000 customers have been restored.
This effort was nothing short of miraculous, said Anthony Topazi, President and CEO. Our employees kept exceeding expectations, and actually got the job done a day faster than our September 11th goal. I cannot be more proud of our employees of Mississippi Power and those from the rest of Southern Company.
More than 9,200 outside linemen, tree trimmers and support personnel came to Mississippi Powers service territory to help with the rebuilding effort. The company estimated that 60-70 percent of its distribution and transmission facilities needed to be replaced or repaired. Workers replaced more than 9,000 poles and restrung nearly 1,000 miles of lines.
As restoration efforts were completed in various areas of the companys service territory, crews were released to assist other companies. More than 6,500 workers have moved on, but Mississippi Power will keep some workers for at least a couple more days to help with work necessary to get the system back to normal and to continue restoring service to customers when theyre ready to receive it.
It will be months before everything is back to the way wed like it, said Kurt Brautigam, company spokesman. There are still numerous areas left to rebuild and many more customers to restore whenever theyre ready. If there are any customers out there who can receive power and dont have it, we ask that they call us.
Mississippi Powers outage reporting number is 1-800-ITS-DARK (800-487-3275). To speak with a customer service representative call, 1-800-353-9777.
Its virtually impossible to describe how many people have played a role in this process, Brautigam said. Its been a team effort, with all the members of Southern Company as well as the more than 50 companies that sent crews.
Its been amazing to watch Mississippi pull together in the midst of this crisis. Ive heard this being called the Mississippi Miracle and maybe it is. We are truly humbled by the patience and generosity of our customers, and we thank everyone for bearing with us as we undertook the massive task of rebuilding our systems and equipment.
Mississippi Power announces the status of its customer service offices (note changes in bold type).
The following bill payment offices will open September 12: Columbia, Ellisville, Hattiesburg, Leakesville, Lucedale, Lumberton, Picayune, Poplarville, Purvis, Sumrall, Waynesboro, Bay St. Louis, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Bay Springs.
The following bill payment offices are now open: Forest, Heidelberg, Laurel. Meridian, Newton, Quitman, Stonewall, Taylorsville, Union.
The following offices will not open until further notice: Biloxi, Gulfport, Moss Point, Pass Christian, Richton, Wiggins.
Customers can mail bills to the PO Box address on their bill (PO Box 245, Birmingham, AL 35201).
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.
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