Although Hurricane Michelle's path is still uncertain, Florida Power & Light Company officials say the electric utility is ready. The company asks everyone -- customers and employees -- to focus on safety before and after the storm and says it will focus on minimizing customer inconvenience.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010621/FPLLOGO )
Even if South Florida is spared Hurricane Michelle's full force, the National Hurricane Center predicts stormy and blustery weather this weekend.
"Customers who lose their electric service, due to bad weather associated with Hurricane Michelle, should be assured that FPL's highly trained and professional workforce is devoted to restoring electric service as quickly as possible," said Armando Olivera, FPL senior vice president of power systems. "Our plan calls for putting more people on the phones, more crews in the field and providing frequent status reports to customers."
FPL serves 3.9 million homes and businesses in Florida including counties along the Eastern Seaboard from the Georgia-Florida line south to Miami-Dade County and on Florida's Gulf Coast from the Bradenton-Sarasota area, south to Fort Myers and Naples.
If Hurricane Michelle takes an unexpected turn, FPL urges these steps to be safe before and after a storm:
* When winds reach 35 mph, or flooding is significant, stay out of harm's
way. At FPL, we care about our employees, and we insist they too remain
safe, so we suspend work in the field until conditions improve.
* Stay away from downed lines, flooding and debris. Don't walk in
standing water and don't venture out in the dark because you might not
see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous.
* Learn all you can about getting prepared for a storm and about being
prepared to manage safely after a storm when our services and other
community services may be temporarily interrupted.
* If you plan to use a portable generator, run it outside and connect
appliances directly. Do not wire your generator directly to your
breaker or fuse box, because the power it creates may flow back into
power lines and cause injuries.
How does FPL know who's without power and when to call:
* Right after a storm, we'll know if large power lines have been damaged
and you're without power. Please help us keep the phone lines open by
only calling FPL if you need to report an emergency like a downed power
line or electrical equipment that is sparking and dangerous. The number
* If your neighborhood gets power back on a day or two after a storm --
but you're still without power -- then please call us at 1-800-4OUTAGE.
Please have your account number or phone number available when you call
and an automated system will record your outage information. This
system helps us manage the enormous task of restoring power after a
hurricane -- beginning with emergencies and essential community
* Stay tuned to local radio, TV and newspapers for specific reports on
FPL's progress in assessing and repairing damage to the electrical
system in your area.
* Severe hurricanes have been known to cause damage that results in many
weeks without power. Less severe storms can result in several days or a
week or more without power.
* Once we've assessed damage, we will provide an estimate of when repairs
will be finished and power restored in your area. If you have access to
a computer, visit us at our storm information center at www.fpl.com or
call 1-800-4OUTAGE for an update.
Customers are our number one priority after a storm. We use a well-tested plan to restore service. Here's how we work:
* First we assess the overall system and repair FPL power plants and the
major lines that carry power from plants to towns and communities.
* Next, we restore service to essential customers who provide for
community health, safety and public welfare -- such as hospitals,
police, fire, communications and water, sanitary and transportation
* We simultaneously deploy field teams to conduct neighborhood-by-
neighborhood damage assessments. We do this so the right resources,
crews and materials are assigned to each effort. We also set up special
staging sites to begin work in the areas that were hit the hardest.
* After essential customers, we restore all other customers using a
priority restoration process. The process focuses on making repairs to
electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of
people first, then the next largest number, and so on, until power is
returned to everyone.
* Work is not assigned according to when you called to report your outage,
where you live or the status of your account. Work will begin in
multiple locations wherever we have damage and customers out of service,
and it will progress according to a plan that prioritizes groups over
* We know you want accurate information that will help you make decisions
about whether to relocate. Post-storm assessments take time after a
severe storm, but as soon as we've reviewed the extent of damage to
electrical facilities in your area, we will provide power restoration
forecasts through the news media, on FPL's Web site (www.fpl.com) and at
As a customer, what can I do after a storm?
* Before you call to report an outage, check all circuit breakers or fuses
to help determine if your service outage might be the result of a
* If you have significant water damage in your home that might make it
unsafe, call a licensed electrician for advice.
* Visually inspect the area outside your home near the meter. If the
meter or any of the piping and wires on the wall of your home or office
are gone or look damaged, call an electrician for advice.
* If no problems are apparent, FPL will re-connect your service or assist
in determining whether you have a household problem.
* Visit www.fpl.com for pre- and post-storm customer tips, a Hurricane Q&A
and -- when events occur -- news of storm restoration and maps.
EDITOR'S ADVISORY: For additional information on FPL storm preparedness,
you may wish to contact a local FPL media liaison, as follows:
Daytona/N.Florida Bob Coleman 904-254-2350
Brevard/Orlando Sandy Sanderson 321-726-4955
Treasure Coast Rod Macon 561-640-2201
Palm Beach Rod Macon 561-640-2201
Broward Lynn Shatas 954-321-2215
Sarasota/Bradenton Mel Klein 941-316-6399
Fort Myers/Naples Grover Whidden 941-332-9291
Miami-Dade, Broward &
West Palm Beach Corporate Communications 305-552-3888
Miami-Dade Betty Marsenison 305-552-3888
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SOURCE: Florida Power & Light Company