Crews from across Gulf Power’s service area are descending on the Panama City, Florida area to aid in restoring power following the expected landfall of Hurricane Hermine just east of the area. Sister companies, Mississippi Power and Alabama Power, are each sending a crew of 50 lineworkers to help in the effort.

“Our customers can always count on the strength of Southern Company to bolster our power restoration efforts,” said Jeff Rogers with Gulf Power. “Our crews are prepared for widespread power outages if Hermine makes landfall anywhere in or near our service area.”

The storm is expected to make landfall around 1 a.m. Friday morning with tropical storm winds beginning as early as 7 p.m. Thursday evening.

“Our service territory could see tropical storm force winds, which may cause power outages throughout the area,” Rogers said. “Should the area experience outages, we thank our customers in advance for their patience as our crews work hard to restore everyone’s power.”

Rogers talked about the strength of the power grid with recent and ongoing storm hardening, substation upgrades and upgrading infrastructure using the latest technologies to reduce power outages.

“While we may have power outages because of the storm, our grid is more robust than ever,” Rogers said. “Because we continue to invest in smart grid technology, Gulf Power has improved our reliability by 40 percent since 2010. Overall, this means fewer and shorter power outages for our customers.”

Even though Northwest Florida hasn’t experienced a hurricane in more than 10 years, Gulf Power’s crews have had plenty of storm restoration practice — they’ve traveled more than 30 times since 2008 assisting power restoration efforts after storms such as Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and after the devastating tornadoes that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2011.

How customers can connect with us:
• To get the latest updates on outages, customers can download Gulf Power’s app and access the outage map for the latest restoration information. The app is free and available for iPhone and Android. Just search for “Gulf Power” in iTunes or the Google Play Store.

• Customers can follow Gulf Power updates on Facebook or Twitter:
http://www.facebook.com/gulfpowercompany or http://www.twitter.com/gulfpower.

• Sign up for free Power Out 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.

Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 447,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at MyGulfPower.com or on the company’s Facebook page. News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com.