As we entered the height of hurricane season, Gulf Power crews responded to multiple requests for assistance, sending lineworkers and other support teams to help restore power following Hurricanes Isaias and Laura.
“These communities are in dire need of help after having tropical weather systems impact them – including a major hurricane. We are honored to be able to assist – just as so many have stepped up to help us in the past,” said Marlene Santos, president of Gulf Power. “We are in unprecedented times as we deal with a global pandemic and an extremely active hurricane season. As we aid our fellow utilities in restoring power, we will take every precaution to keep both our crews and the communities we will be working in safe.”
As Hurricane Isaias approached South Florida, Gulf Power sent crews and other resources to help its sister company, Florida Power & Light, prepare for the potential impact of the storm. While Florida was spared a direct hit, approximately 40,000 FPL customers lost power as Isaias traveled up the east coast of the state. Gulf Power joined other out-of-state energy companies to assist FPL in restoration efforts.
Isaias continued to travel north, eventually knocking out power to millions of customers from North Carolina to Maine. Shortly after returning from South Florida, a team of nearly 120 Gulf Power employees and contractors joined FPL and other energy companies to support power restoration. For nearly a week, crews worked 16-hour days in difficult conditions to restore power in northeast New Jersey, about 30-35 miles east of New York City. Gulf Power crews helped restore power to more than 7,000 homes and businesses.
On the heels of Lineworker Appreciation Day (Aug. 26), a team of 180 Gulf Power employees and contractors traveled to assist after Hurricane Laura knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in Louisiana. The team continues to work long days in hot and often difficult conditions to restore power, clearing vegetation, resetting poles, stringing wire – whatever work needs to be completed to get the lights back on.
Traveling with the team is Gulf Power’s new community response vehicle, which can serve as a mobile command center for the crews as well as a charging station for customers that are without power.
Assisting other utilities following severe weather
The crews follow COVID-19 safety guidelines to keep everyone safe, including social distancing, increased sanitation measures and wearing masks where appropriate. In addition, the crews are planning to be self-sufficient to limit contact with other teams. Signs on trucks remind the public to honor the 6 feet social distancing requirements that help keep the crews safe while they work.
When Gulf Power puts a team together to travel and assist other utilities, its first consideration is ensuring enough crews remain in Northwest Florida to maintain reliability at home and that no severe tropical weather systems are forecast to impact the area in the coming days.
The extreme storm activity recently is a reminder that we are entering the height of hurricane season. Preparation and safety tips to ensure you and your family are prepared are available at GulfPower.com/storm.