Less than two weeks following the devastation of nearly Category 5 Hurricane Michael, the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Panhandle region, power has been fully restored to all public power customers who can accept power, reports the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA).
At peak, more than 400,000 customers in the region were without power with nearly 122,000 of them from five Florida public power communities – Tallahassee, Havana, Quincy, Chattahoochee and Blountstown. Tallahassee had more than 113,000, or 95 percent, of its customers out and lost nearly 60 percent of its transmission. Havana, Quincy, Chattahoochee and Blountstown were left 100 percent in the dark.
Maintaining optimum plant performance provides low-cost power for customers
For the sixth consecutive year, the Florida Municipal Power Agency’s (FMPA) major power plants outperformed industry averages for reliability, which is key for providing low-cost wholesale electricity to the 13 cities the agency serves.
On October 10, 2018, the panhandle of Florida was devastated by Hurricane Michael – a strong, Category 4 hurricane with winds at 155 mph (just 2 mph below a Category 5). It was the strongest hurricane on record to ever strike the region, and the fourth strongest (by wind speed) to ever make landfall in the contiguous United States. It remained a Category 4 as it tore through the panhandle destroying thousands of homes and buildings, splintering trees, and crumbling roads and utility infrastructure in its wake.
As of this morning, the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) is reporting a total of 4,995 north Florida public power utility customers are without power following Hurricane Michael, which ravaged the Panhandle last week.
In the City of Tallahassee, 99 percent of the service area has been restored. Crews in Tallahassee continue to work on reconnecting power to the smaller circuits to bring the city to full restoration. The cities of Quincy and Chattahoochee are both nearly 50 percent restored and should exceed that percentage by day’s end. Mutual aid crews working in Tallahassee have been reassigned to assist with restoration efforts in Chattahoochee and Quincy, as well as some of the cooperative electric utilities that sustained damage.
According to the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), approximately 16,500 north Florida public power utility customers remain without power following Hurricane Michael. Power restoration efforts continue day and night. Significant progress has been in the City of Tallahassee, which is 90 percent restored (approximately 10,000 customers are without power), and in the Town of Havana, 100 percent of customers who can accept power have been restored.
The cities of Quincy and Chattahoochee restored transmission lines yesterday enabling power restoration efforts to progress to essential facilities followed by business and residential customers. Currently, 74 percent of Chattahoochee’s customers are without power and 84 percent of Quincy’s customers are without power.
In preparation for Hurricane Michael’s expected arrival to North Florida, OUC sent 21 employees and 17 trucks on a mutual aid mission to Tallahassee’s municipal electric utility. As soon as it was safe to begin work early this morning, they were out in the field.
The crews include damage assessors with expertise in helping prioritize power restoration as well as five three-man line crews, prepared to work 16-hour days.
They have already restored hundreds of customers, if not more – including a medical facility. They are rebuilding infrastructure including setting new poles and hanging conductor wire.
We do not know how long they will be deployed at this time.
The OUC crews include: Jody Rodgers, Roger Hull, Jeff Lewchanin, Damon Adkinson, Donnie Hurley, Bill Bauknight, Matt Coakley, Jason Reynolds, Justin Restituyo, Mike Atout, Mark Fisher, Mitch Coakley, Richard Boley, Brian Barnett, Timothy Wills, Nick Rawlings, Nicholas Emmons, Eva Reyes, Mike Galloway, Dallas Aldridge and Tyler Brooks.
With power still out to nearly 350,000 utility customers in Northwest Florida after Hurricane Michael, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday said crews continue to be needed to clear roads and rights-of-way for utility workers.
“We are doing everything we can to help our utility companies to get the power back on. We have some push crews that we’ve offered to all of the utilities to make sure they can get the power back on,” Scott told reporters outside the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee before heading for tours of Mexico Beach and Marianna.