Powering Strong Communities
Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Public Power Utilities in Fla. Wrap Up Power Restoration Efforts in Wake of Hurricane

Public power utilities in Florida on Sept. 1 were wrapping up power restoration efforts in the state in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, which hit Florida as a Category 3 hurricane the morning of Aug. 30.

“Within 48 hours of powerful Category 3 Hurricane Idalia making an unprecedented landfall in Florida’s Big Bend Region, Florida public power utilities have essentially restored power to all its customers impacted from Idalia,” said Amy Zubaly, Executive Director, Florida Municipal Electric Association, on Sept. 1.

“More than 99.99 percent of all Florida public power customers now have electricity,” she said on the morning of Sept. 1.

Peak power outages reported statewide were 288,248 customers and peak outages reported for public power utilities’ customers were 42,281.

More than 360 personnel from 58 utilities in Florida and from 13 other states including Alabama, Louisiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Iowa, along with hundreds of contractors and tree crews, assisted with mutual aid efforts in Florida’s public power communities. 

Some mutual aid crews were being released back to their hometowns, while crews from four Florida public power utilities and 22 public power utilities from six other states were continuing to assist other utilities as they restore power for communities in need.

“We greatly appreciate the hard work of our lineworkers and all the mutual aid crews who spent long hours in the heat and humidity to get power flowing back to customers as quickly as they could,” Zubaly said.

Earlier in the week, a number of public power utilities deployed to the public power community of Tallahassee, Fla., to assist with restoration efforts.

On Aug. 30, the City of Tallahassee reported that Idalia knocked out electricity to 35% of the ity’s customers, and based on current assessments, crews will achieve substantial completion of restoration by end of day tomorrow, Aug. 31.

Crews from Florida public power utilities Lakeland Electric, Orlando Utilities Commission and Kissimmee Utility Authority, as well as Louisiana public power utility Lafayette Utilities System, have deployed to Tallahassee to help with restoration work.

And on Aug. 29, two crews from Nebraska’s Lincoln Electric System started their journey to Tallahassee on a mutual aid request in anticipation of Hurricane Idalia.

Florida public power utility JEA at 7:45 pm on Aug. 30 reported that its crews were safely responding to customer outage reports throughout the day. 

“From 6 a.m. this morning through 7 p.m., our crews have responded to 85,441 customer outages and restored service to 76,530 customers - a 90 percent restoration rate,” it said.

A crew from Alabama’s Troy Utilities deployed to help Florida public power utility Gainesville Regional Utilities restore power.

Troy Utilities linemen finished their work at Gainesville Regional Utilities on Aug. 31 and moved west to Central Florida Electric Cooperative, which was hit hard by Hurricane Idalia and still had a lot of damage in its area.

Idalia has also knocked out power in parts of Georgia.

In the public power community of Moultrie, Ga., the city reported on the evening of Aug. 30 that Our Utility Department is dealing with widespread outages. “Right now 700 customers are without power,” it said. “Crews have been out all day working to restore power and clean up debris. Our Utility, Public Works, and Police departments will continue to have crews out until all power is restored.”

A crew from Georgia public power utility Newnan Utilities headed to Thomasville, Georgia, this week to be ready to assist Electric Cities of Georgia restore power, if necessary.

At 5 pm on Aug. 30, Thomasville reported that less than 2,000 customers remained without power.

Along with Newnan Utilities and ECG, crews from the following public power communities were also deployed to help Thomasville with restoration efforts: Calhoun, Ga., Georgia’s Acworth Power and Public Works and the City of Marietta, Ga.