Gulf Power, EREC Preparing For Hurricane Michael

October 9, 2018

Gulf Power and Escambia River Electric Cooperative are preparing for Hurricane Michael.

Gulf Power

Gulf Power is preparing for Hurricane Michael and encourages its customers to be prepared as well. The latest forecast projects landfall somewhere between Pensacola and Apalachicola as a category 2 or 3 hurricane Wednesday afternoon. On the current track, tropical storms force winds could extend as far west as Pensacola, with the greatest impact to the Panama City area.

With the threat of major hurricane and widespread power outages due to wind, rain and tidal surge, Gulf Power crews stand at the ready to restore power.

“Customers should prepare for the possibility of losing power for an extended period when tropical storm to hurricane force winds and storm surge or flooding occurs,” said Gordon Paulus, Gulf Power spokesperson. “We have our storm plans in place and are ready for any scenario.”

Nearly 1,200 Gulf Power employees and 330 Gulf Power contractors shift to storm duty roles to restore power when a storm hits to ensure power is restored as quickly and safely as possible for their customers. The company has also lined up assistance from other energy providers. Already, more than 1,350 outside resources have been secured to assist with restoration and more are available if needed.

This will be the third storm to hit Northwest Florida this year. In May, Pensacola experienced subtropical storm Alberto, the first named storm of what has proven to be a very busy storm season. And in September, Gulf Power crews restored power to 26,000 customers after Tropical Storm Gordon lashed the area.

“Our crews were able to restore 26,000 customers from Tropical Storm Gordon within a day in a half,” Paulus said. “We train year-round for these types of scenarios. That training and developing of skills has really paid off in helping us quickly and safely get our customers’ power back on.”

Escambia River Electric Cooperative

With Hurricane Michael bearing down, EREC is making final preparations to deal with potential impacts in our area. According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Michael is forecast to make landfall along the Florida panhandle on Wednesday afternoon. Michael will produce very heavy rain, strong wind, and storm surge.

EREC activated its emergency response plan earlier this week, alerting employees and contract crews to be on standby in case of widespread outages.

“Safety is our top priority, and EREC is taking all measures to ensure the safety of our employees and the public in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael,” said Clay Campbell, General Manager/CEO. “As soon as conditions permit, crews will begin assessing damage and making repairs to restore power to our members.”

EREC will make every effort to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Employees and contract crews are on standby to assist in restoration efforts, and internal crew assignments have been made.

“As always, we ask that the public take extra care when making repairs following a storm,” Campbell said. “Downed power lines should always be treated as though they are energized, and portable generators should be operated according to manufacturer’s instructions.”

Pictured: Gulf Power mans their operations center Wednesday morning. Photo for, click to enlarge.


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