June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, and Gulf Power wants to remind customers to take the time now to prepare for what could be another active season.
As part of Florida Power & Light Company, preparing for hurricane season is a year-round process for Gulf Power, including an annual intensive weeklong drill involving thousands of employees throughout the state. The company also invests in continuously improving the energy grid to make it stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient, which results in better reliability for customers in both good weather and bad.
“As we saw last year during Hurricane Sally, a storm can change course at any time, and we must all be ready for whatever comes our way,” said Mike Spoor, vice president of Gulf Power. “That’s why we prepare throughout the year, leverage technology and learn from previous storms so that we can continue to make improvements. Every Gulf Power employee has a storm assignment and we work hard to make sure we are ready to be there for our customers when they need us most. We urge our customers to use this time to prepare as well.”
Continuous investments to improve the energy grid
Between 2020-22, Gulf Power is investing nearly $250 million in storm hardening and reliability improvement efforts that help to reduce the frequency and duration of outages in good weather and bad:
- Long-term storm hardening efforts include replacing wooden transmission structures with concrete or steel; hardening the distribution main power lines to extreme wind loading criteria; and the undergrounding of certain lines, a process that will go beyond 2022.
- Reliability improvements underway include the installation of automated lateral switches and other smart devices to create additional self-healing networks, assessing the condition of power lines and other infrastructure using drones, clearing vegetation and continuing to work with FPL to implement best practices to improve the customer experience.
Gulf Power provided its customers with the most reliable service in the company’s history in 2020 and has improved reliability by 50% over the past two years, due in large part to the company’s continuing investments to make the energy grid stronger, smarter and more reliable. In 2020, the company was awarded the ReliabilityOne® Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Southeast suburban/rural service area, presented by PA Consulting to recognize the best suburban/rural service area investor-owned utilities in the United States.
Make preparations now, before a storm is threatening our area
Just as Gulf Power prepares, customers are also encouraged to think through their emergency preparedness plans as another hurricane season begins.
- Create an emergency plan for your family to outline where you would go if you needed to evacuate – and don’t forget to include pets and/or consider special needs.
- Take advantage of Florida’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which ends June 6 and provides a sales tax exemption for eligible preparedness supplies. Learn more about eligible items and ensure your disaster supply kit is ready.
- Check emergency equipment such as flashlights, battery-operated radios and emergency generators to ensure they are working properly before you need to use them.
- Before a storm is threatening the area, have your trees properly trimmed to minimize their impact on your home and neighborhood. Only specially trained line-clearing professionals can trim trees and vegetation around power lines – never do it yourself.
Visit www.GulfPower.com/Storm for more preparation and safety tips.
How to stay informed
Gulf Power provides information to customers to help them prepare for hurricane season and communicates with them after a severe weather event. The easiest way to stay informed and report an outage after a severe weather event is the Gulf Power mobile app. Customers can also download the Gulf Power app for on-the-go, instant and secure access to their accounts. The app is available for download free in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.
Gulf Power communicates information to customers frequently through the news media and the following resources: