Gulf Power restores more than 40% of customers impacted within the first day of Hurricane Sally’s exit from its service area; heavy traffic and closed and damaged roads and bridges present challenges

  • Power restored to essentially all customers in Bay, Jackson, Holmes and Washington counties
  • Customers in Walton County are expected to be essentially restored by the end of today
  • Customers in Okaloosa County are expected to be essentially restored by the end of tomorrow; road closures in this county continue to inhibit access
  • While many customers will be restored before this date, we expect 95% of customers who can receive power in the hardest-hit areas, including Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, to be restored by the end of Tuesday, Sept. 22
  • Gulf Power will aim to provide more localized restoration estimates for each county on Saturday, Sept. 19
  • Localized areas of devastation, downed trees, flooding and damaged or closed roads are impacting ability to restore power
  • A workforce of 7,000 committed to the power restoration effort
  • Sister company Florida Power & Light has provided approximately 1,800 employees and contractors who are already restoring power to customers
  • Gulf Power urges customers to keep the roads clear for restoration crews, and avoid downed power lines, flooding and debris
  • Download the Gulf Power app free from iOS App Store or Google Play Store 

Gulf Power today announced that as of 8:00 PM CDT, it had restored power to more than 126,000 customers affected by Hurricane Sally. Currently, approximately 157,000 customers are without electricity mainly in the hardest hit areas of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

“We know that in the wake of a hurricane customers want to know when they will get their lights back on,” said Marlene Santos, president of Gulf Power. “Our crews worked throughout the night and day restoring power and conducting assessments of damage to the energy grid so we could provide the best estimates of power restoration for our customers. We have a workforce of 7,000 committed to restoring power and you have our commitment that we will continue to work around the clock until every customer is restored.”

Restoration estimates

Power has essentially been restored to all customers who can receive it in:

  • Bay County
  • Jackson County
  • Holmes County
  • Washington County

We expect to restore power by the end of today to essentially all customers who can receive it in Walton County.

We expect to restore power by the end of the day tomorrow to essentially all customers who can receive it in Okaloosa County. While we expected to essentially complete restoration in this county today, progress has been hampered by I-10 and other road closures.

Based on initial assessments of the hardest-hit areas, we expect to restore 95% of customers who can receive power in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties by the end of the day on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Many customers will be restored before this date.

As we continue our damage assessments in these areas, we will provide additional information on restoration times, particularly in areas difficult to access due to flooding and road closures. We will share the best, most up-to-date information we have as quickly as possible through traditional media, social media and GulfPower.com. Customers can also find the latest restoration information on the Gulf Power app.

“We understand how difficult it is to be without power and we ask for your patience as we work to restore power in the hardest-hit parts of our service area,” added Santos. “We urge customers to please keep the roads clear for our crews, and to stay away from downed lines and standing water.”

Damaged or closed roads and bridges, and extensive damage and flooding in some areas caused by rain throughout the southeast and the cresting of rivers is impacting our ability to reach certain areas. Flooding must recede before some areas, particularly those with underground service, can be accessed and repairs can be made to electrical equipment.

How we restore power

  • We don’t restore power based on when customers report an outage, where customers live or the status of accounts. Rather, we begin in multiple locations and follow an overall plan that calls for restoring power to the largest number of customers safely and as quickly as possible:
    • We start by repairing any damage to our power plants and the power lines that carry electricity from our plants to the local substations.
    • We prioritize restoring power to main lines that serve major hospitals and 911 centers, in addition to those facilities identified as critical infrastructure functions such as police and fire stations, water treatment plants, transportation providers and communication facilities.
    • At the same time, we work to return service to the largest number of customers in the shortest amount of time − including service to major thoroughfares that host supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and other needed community services.
    • From here, we repair the infrastructure serving smaller groups and neighborhoods, converging on the hardest-hit areas until every customer’s power is restored.

Smart meters allow us to know when customers are experiencing an outage, so customers do not have to call if they are experiencing an outage. Some customers may experience more than one outage as we work to restore power. If there is a life-threatening emergency, customers should call 911. To report downed power lines please call Gulf Power at 1-800-GUPOWER (1-800-487-6937).

Customer Safety

Customers should remain vigilant and follow safety tips are available at GulfPower.com/Storm.

What we’re doing to respond to the storm

  • Workforce of nearly 7,000 that are committed to the restoration effort.
  • We have brought in approximately 1,800 personnel from our sister company FPL to support restoration efforts.
  • We have mobilized 12 staging sites throughout the service area.
  • We have restored power to more than 126,000 customers since Sally first began to affect our service area.
  • We are using drone teams and other technology to conduct damage assessments that allow us to get to areas hard to access.

What customers can do

  • Please keep roads clear so our restoration crews can get to their next work site faster.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, if you see our crews at work, please remember to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Avoid stopping crews to ask when power will be restored – this only slows down the process.

How to stay informed

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 restoration information to customers frequently through the news media and the following resources: