USA. Progress Energy Florida activates system storm centre as Ernesto approaches coast Print E-mail
Monday, 28 August 2006
Environmental news:


Progress Energy Florida is carefully monitoring Tropical Storm Ernesto and is prepared for any effects the storm may have on its 35-county service territory.

The utility has begun activating its system storm center in Winter Garden, is preparing vehicles and equipment, and is confirming availability of supplies such as fuel.

"Storms are unpredictable, and we are prepared to respond quickly if Ernesto threatens our service territory," said David McDonald, Progress Energy Florida's system storm coordinator. "Although the current forecasts predict our customers may be spared a direct strike, we must continue to prepare for the worst."

Progress Energy Florida has taken aggressive steps to strengthen the electric system that serves its customers, including significantly increasing the number of pole replacements and targeting high-risk areas for increased tree trimming. The company also continually improves its communications with local governments.

"We work closely with local officials before, during and after hurricanes and tropical storms," McDonald said. "That makes sure local community priorities are met to the extent possible, and it helps expedite restoration of service to all our customers."

Last year, PEF mobilized hundreds of line crews and support personnel to help restore power after hurricanes ravaged other states and South Florida. As a member of the Southeastern Electric Exchange, a mutual-aid organization for investor-owned utilities, the company dispatched employees to the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and to South Florida after Hurricane Wilma left millions in the dark.

Progress Energy Florida offers these safety tips to prepare for a storm and deal safely with its effects:

To prepare for outages, have plenty of fresh batteries for flashlights and radios.

If rising water threatens your home, turn off the power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box before water enters your home. Have an electrician inspect your system before turning the power back on after flooding.

Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands, or while standing on a wet or damp surface.

When using a gasoline-powered electric generator, operate it in well- ventilated areas and only connect it to individual appliances. Connecting a generator to a wall outlet in your home or building's electrical system is dangerous for customers and line crews working to restore power. Never operate a generator indoors as carbon monoxide buildup can be fatal.

Assume all downed power lines are live and stay away from them. If you see a downed power line, call PEF at 800-228-8485 to report itslocation.

PEF customers who lose power should call the 24-hour automated outage line at 800-228-8485. It is the fastest way to report a power outage,and even offers an option to call customers back if updates are available on when power will be restored. This state-of-the-art technology is capable of handling more than 125,000 calls per hour during widespread outages. By calling this number, customers can obtain the same information available from our customer service associates.

For additional storm-safety tips, visit progress-energy.com/storm.
Last Updated ( Monday, 28 August 2006 )
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