For immediate release - Oct. 5, 2017
Gulf Power keeping a watchful eye on Nate
Gulf Power is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Nate as it tracks toward the Gulf of Mexico with forecast models indicating it's headed to the northern Gulf Coast. It could potentially impact the energy provider's customers as a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane by Sunday.
If the storm were to impact Northwest Florida, Gulf Power crews stand at the ready to restore power.
'This hurricane season has proven to be extremely busy with Hurricanes Jose and Harvey, followed by Irma and Maria - which both impacted Florida in a span of one month,' said Kimberly Blair, Gulf Power spokesperson. 'Our teams rapidly deployed to restore power in less than two days when tropical force winds from Irma knocked out service to some 13,000 customers in the Panama City area. Once our teams took care of our customers, they traveled all over Florida and to Georgia to help neighboring utilities restore power. Our crews are ready and prepared to respond to Tropical Storm Nate if it shifts toward us or if we are needed to help with restoration efforts for other energy providers.'
As a part of Southern Company, Gulf Power has extra backing and resources from Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power.
Even though Gulf Power's customers haven't experienced a hurricane in more than 10 years, the energy company's crews have had plenty of storm restoration practice - they've traveled more than 36 times to 14 different states since 2008, assisting in power restoration efforts after storms such as Superstorm Sandy that hit the Northeast Atlantic coast in 2012 and after the devastating tornadoes that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 2011.
In 2016, Gulf Power responded to the City of Tallahassee and Georgia Power following Hurricane Hermine's landfall. A month later, Gulf Power storm teams responded rapidly to calls for aid from Florida Public Utilities and Georgia Power, assisting with recovery operations following Hurricane Matthew. For these efforts, Gulf Power was awarded the Edison Electric Institute Assistance Award for its extraordinary work assisting in power restoration efforts in a neighboring or nearby electric company.
Gulf Power also conducts yearly exercises to ensure all team members are ready and to practice their storm-related duties. In May, the energy provider practiced a day-long exercise simulating a Category 2 hurricane making landfall in Northwest Florida and drilled again in July. The Gulf Power McCrary Storm and Training Center, which was built to withstand winds of 200 mph, was activated last month when Hurricane Irma was headed up the coastline of Florida.
'Our team works hard to cultivate what we call a 'culture of preparedness,' Blair said. 'Our team from lineworkers to customer care reps trains and prepares for these events so that they are poised to respond as quickly as it's safe to get out in the communities to begin helping our customers restore normalcy to their lives.'
Along with crew and team member preparedness, Gulf Power has also invested more than $225 million in infrastructure improvement projects across the region. With recent and ongoing substation and infrastructure upgrades using the latest technologies to reduce power outages, Gulf Power's more than 460,000 customers are enjoying fewer outages than in any time in recent history.
'Investments in our smart grid doesn't mean customers won't lose power during a storm,' said Blair, 'it means that our ongoing investment in our grid maintenance, upgrades and technology makes it much more resilient than years ago when Hurricane Ivan hit. Even though customers may lose power in a storm, a stronger grid means faster restoration times. Customers should always prepare to be without power for an extended period when hurricane force winds and storm surge or flooding occurs.'
Customers can get more storm preparation information on the Gulf Power Storm Ready Center webpage.
How customers can connect with us:
To get the latest updates on outages, customers can download Gulf Power's app and access the outage map for the latest restoration information. The app is free and available for iPhone and Android. Just search for 'Gulf Power' in iTunes or the Google Play Store.
Customers should follow Gulf Power on social media to receive updates on Facebook or Twitter before, during and after the storm.
Sign up for free PowerOut alerts through your cell phone by texting REG to MyGulf (694853). Or, visit the Preference Center in the My Account area of MyGulfPower.com to choose whether to receive texts, emails or phone calls with outage updates.
Gulf Power knows when your power is out. We suggest consulting the outage map first for information. However, you can call 1-800-487-6937 if you have any questions about your outage.
About Gulf Power
Gulf Power is an investor-owned energy provider with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 460,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company's mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electricity while strengthening our communities. Visit online at MyGulfPower.com or on the company's Facebook page. News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com.
News Media Contacts:
Media Relations Supervisor
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850-444-6050, cell 850-206-5132
850-444-6784, cell 850-375-6123