Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Tallahassee at 95 percent of power restoration

The Florida Municipal Electric Association on Oct. 16 reported that in the city of Tallahassee 95% of customers who can receive power have been restored as the city and other parts of the state continue to recover from Hurricane Michael.

While mutual aid efforts have been effective in restoring power in the states hit by Michael, there has been a particularly dramatic turnaround in terms of how quickly the lights have come back on in Tallahassee, given how many customers were initially without power due to Michael.

Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida on Oct. 10 as a Category 4 hurricane. As of the morning of Oct. 11, FMEA reported last week, out of 400,000 total outages, 122,000 were from public power utilities and more than 100,000 of these were in Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee, where 96 percent of the system was down. Also, 60 percent of Tallahassee’s transmission was down.

By the morning of Oct. 14, Tallahassee was 85% restored and a day later, the city was at 90 percent restored.

Through mutual aid, restoration efforts benefitted from the fact that public power utility crews had been pre-deployed prior to Michael making landfall. Before the arrival of Hurricane Michael, FMEA activated its network of mutual aid calling on public power and investor-owned utilities to send crews, equipment and other resources to Florida to assist with power restoration efforts after the storm.

Crews from various public power utilities in Florida, as well as more than 200 personnel from Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas were set to make their way toward Tallahassee for an arrival on Oct. 11. These mutual aid activities are continuing in Florida and other states impacted by Michael.

In an Oct. 16 tweet, FMEA noted that while the vast majority of Tallahassee residents have had their electricity restored, a handful remain without power. The tweet noted that mutual aid crews such as those from Florida’s Fort Pierce Utilities Authority “keep plugging away to get everyone powered.”

In another tweet from Oct. 16, FMEA recognized the efforts of crews from Massachusetts public power utilities Belmont Light and Holyoke Gas & Electric that are helping to restore power to Tallahassee.

Meanwhile, as of the morning of Oct. 15, 100 percent of customers in Blountstown, Fla., remained without power and transmission was still down. The transmission feed is from investor-owned Gulf Power and the utility has reported that it hopes to have the line restored by Oct. 18.

Some Alabama crews have been sent to Blountstown, while others from Tallahassee are being reassigned to Chattahoochee and Quincy.

The transmission line that feeds the cities of Quincy and Chattahoochee was restored on Sunday, Oct. 14, enabling power restoration efforts to progress to essential facilities followed by business and residential customers. As of the morning of Oct. 15, 74 percent of Chattahoochee’s customers were without power and 84 percent of Quincy’s customers were without power.

Elsewhere, in other states impacted by Michael, in Alabama, the City of Dothan, a public power community, was reporting 466 outages as of the morning of Oct. 16 and of that, there were 50-75 that could not be restored.

In Virginia, the City of Danville, which is served by a public power utility, was estimating that by the end of the day, Oct. 16, the city would have 500 customers that still need to be restored. It may take a few days to get the last 500 restored. There was a setback Oct. 15 when a mudslide occurred, resulting in large oak trees coming down across an intersection and taking down two circuits.

DOE report

In a situation report released the afternoon of Oct. 16, the Department of Energy reported customer outage figures for the following states as of 4:00 p.m. EDT:

  • Alabama: 2,303 customer outages (0.09%), decrease of 16% since last report
  • Florida: 138,588 customer outages (1.37%), decrease of 1% since last report
  • Georgia: 59,000 customer outages (1.25%), decrease of 16% since last report
  • North Carolina: 4,287 customer outages (0.1%), decrease of 49% since last report
  • Virginia: 6,219 customer outages (0.2%), decrease of 38% since last report

Association continues to monitor effects of Michael

The American Public Power Association continues to monitor Michael and as of Oct. 16 the response falls under the category of a Mutual Aid Playbook activation level 3 (regional event).

The Association is also coordinating daily conference calls with relevant public power coordinators who provide updates on restoration efforts and outage totals.

For updates on Michael and details on Association mutual aid resources, click here.