Until Nov. 30, we’re still in the peak period of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. While it’s been almost a decade since a hurricane made landfall in Florida, your local electric utility is still highly aware of the damage a hurricane can inflict, so they go to great lengths to be prepared.
Utilities have invested money to strengthen their electric system so the system is strong when severe weather strikes. This can result in less damage and fewer electricity outages. Hardening activities include inspecting and replacing weak power poles, trimming trees away from power lines and installing new equipment.
These investments can pay off throughout the year. After any storm that results in electricity outages, local electric crews respond quickly.
Statistics show locally owned utilities shine at providing reliable electricity. Statewide averages show that customers of community-owned utilities enjoy quicker repair times and shorter outages. Municipal utilities have led the way with the shortest average repair time for the past 11 years. This is an important measure of reliability that all of your electric utility staff take pride in.
To prepare for the worst, your hometown utility partners with 33 other cities around the state in a mutual aid agreement. When any utility calls, the others agree to support them with workers and equipment. This makes the lights come back on quicker.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted a 90 percent chance of below-normal hurricane activity this season. We hope that holds true. Nevertheless, your hometown utility has the community power and statewide strength to provide reliable service in any season.
Nick Guarriello, general manager and CEO, Florida Municipal Power Agency, Orlando
Barry Moline, executive director, Florida Municipal Electric Association, Tallahassee