Officials at Mississippi Power are closely watching Hurricane Dennis and making plans should it land anywhere near the Mississippi Gulf Coast and affect the companys service area.
Hurricane Dennis is a significant storm and should it make landfall anywhere near the Mississippi Coast, we can expect major damage to our electrical system, said Mississippi Power spokesman Kurt Brautigam. We should know what to expect in terms of its strength and direction once it enters the Gulf of Mexico.
Mississippi Power teams are in contact with neighboring utilities to bring in extra crews if damage is significant. The company has also been making logistical arrangements to house and feed large numbers of outside workers.
In addition, arrangements for extra materials, vehicles, and communications networks are being made and many of the companys facilities are being boarded up. Forecasts call for the storm to make landfall sometime late Sunday, but coastal areas could begin to feel some effects as early as Saturday.
Our crews will work as long as they can before the winds make it unsafe, Brautigam said. After the storm passes, we have a plan based on a worst case scenario, and well work that plan depending on the amount of damage our system sustains.
Dennis may wind up being stronger than Hurricane Ivan last year, which interrupted power for customers in Pensacola for up to two weeks. For the most part, we were barely brushed by Ivan, and it knocked out service to more than 70,000 of our customers for a couple of days.
Safety is always a primary concern during storms and other situations. Brautigam urged residents to follow any evacuation orders and also reminded customers who rely on electricity for medically-related equipment to make alternative arrangements for meeting those needs.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of southern Company, serves approximately 195,000 customers in 23 southeastern Mississippi counties.
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Mississippi Power offers these storm tips:
Stay away from all downed lines. Warn others to do the same and contact Mississippi Power or a local law enforcement agency.
Wait a reasonable time before calling Mississippi Power if your entire neighborhood is without power. Extra calls jam switchboards and slow repairs.
Keep freezer doors closed and sealed. Well-filled freezers keep most foods frozen two to three days if the door is kept closed.
Do not connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and to electric company employees working on the lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances such as freezers and refrigerators directly to the generator.
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.
Charge cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices before the storm hits.
Wash all your clothes and dishes.
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.