Duke Energy Florida, which provides electricity to large parts of the state’s Big Bend and eastern Panhandle said Tuesday night it expects 100,000 to 200,000 customers to have power outages because of Hurricane Michael. The utility said it based the estimate on a storm-modeling tool that takes into account factors such as wind speed and the magnitude of the storm.
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Municipal utilities say they are sending more than 200 workers from out of state to restore power following Hurricane Michael, and Gov. Rick Scott says investor-owned utilities have 8,000 workers ready to help.
Hurricane Michael as of 11 a.m. had sustained winds of 110 mph and was 335 miles south of Panama City. The storm is expected to hit the Florida Panhandle Wednesday morning.
At the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, Scott said Duke Energy Florida had 5,000 workers ready to deploy and Gulf Power Co. in the Panhandle had 3,000 ready.
“Public power utilities in the Florida Panhandle are bracing for the impacts of Hurricane Michael, which will make landfall sometime Wednesday afternoon as a potential Category 3 hurricane. Currently, the Florida public power utilities of Tallahassee, Havana, Chattahoochee, Quincy and Blountstown are all in the potential impact zone.
In preparation for the storm, the Florida Municipal Electric Association activated the American Public Power Association mutual aid network and, once again, the response from across the country has been tremendous. By tonight, we will have approximately 125 power restoration personnel pre-staged in Tallahassee.
In preparation for Hurricane Michael’s expected arrival to North Florida, OUC is sending 21 employees and 17 trucks on a mutual aid mission to Tallahassee at 12 noon today (October 9) from OUC’s Operations Center – 6003 Pershing Avenue.
We do not know how long they will be gone, however, our employees are prepared to work 16 hour days. The crews include damage assessors with expertise in helping prioritize power restoration as well as five three-man line crews.
Gov. Rick Scott on Monday warned residents of the Panhandle and the Big Bend region to “seriously” plan for the impact of the rapidly developing Hurricane Michael, which is expected to reach Florida by mid-week with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.
“You’ve got to take care of yourself,” said Scott, sporting his faded Navy baseball cap that has become a hallmark of his past emergency attire, after a briefing at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center in Southport.
Scott said emergency officials are “doing everything they can to get everybody ready.” But, as Michael is expected to bring storm surge, rains, flash flooding and tornadoes, Scott said the storm’s northern speed through the Gulf of Mexico is different from hurricanes that have hit Florida the past couple of years.
Amy Zubaly, Executive Director, Florida Municipal Electric Association Regarding Tropical Storm Michael
“Over the course of this past weekend, the Florida Municipal Electric Association was in contact with public power communities across Florida and the Southeast lining up mutual aid crews prepared to assist affected areas of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region following what we expect will be Hurricane Michael.
We are bringing hundreds of mutual aid personnel into the City of Tallahassee. Our goal is to have at least 150 crew members pre-staged in Tallahassee tomorrow in advance of the storm’s landfall with the remainder prepared to arrive Thursday. Crews from Lafayette, Louisiana, will travel to Tallahassee tomorrow and will mobilize alongside crews from many of Florida’s public power utilities. Additional crews from several other states and parts of Florida are also standing by. We are also closely monitoring potential needs in Havana, Chattahoochee, Blountstown and Quincy.
During Public Power Week, Oct. 7 – 13, Ocala Electric Utility (OEU) will join with public power utilities across the country to celebrate being “Community Powered,” a recently launched national campaign that communicates the value public power utilities offer their customers and communities.
Community-owned, not-for-profit public power utilities power homes and businesses in 2,000 communities across the U.S. – from small towns to large cities. They safely provide reliable, low-cost electricity to more than 49 million Americans, while protecting the environment.