Florida utilities prepare for storm, encourage customers to plan for Hurricane Ian

by | Sep 26, 2022

  • Duke Florida and FPL have activated their emergency response plans for Hurricane Ian
  • Both companies are pre-positioning workforce to be able to respond safely and as quickly as possible

As Hurricane Ian strengthens and prepares to make landfall, Duke Energy Florida and Florida Power & Light (FPL) are making preparations and urging customers to be on guard for the possibility of widespread power outages.

As Hurricane Ian nears Florida, Duke and FPL are assembling crews and resources for rapid response near areas that will likely be affected by the storm. The pair are also providing customers with planning tools and information before, during and after a storm.

“We recognize the uncertainty in the forecast track and projected strength of Tropical Storm Ian may make many of our customers uneasy and a bit anxious, and we want them to know that we are preparing, and we will be ready to respond,” said FPL Chairman and CEO Eric Silagy. “We have activated our emergency response plan in anticipation of the storm’s impact on our service area.”

Line technicians and workers for both utility companies are also checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure adequate materials are available to make repairs and restore power outages.

In addition to lineworkers, crew members for Duke and FPL are trimming and removing trees and other vegetation that blow into and fall onto power lines.

“Restoring power as safely and quickly as possible, while keeping our customers informed, remains our top priority,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “We want customers to know that our team is ready to respond to Ian or any other storm that could pose a threat to our electric system.”

Both noted that high winds, downed trees and flooding can impact work conditions long after the storm has passed, making repair work lengthy and more difficult.

“FPL operates tens of thousands of miles of overhead power lines surrounded by millions of trees. Storms like this are nature’s way of clearing debris, and it is likely that vegetation and other debris will cause outages and restoration challenges,” added Silagy.

Tropical Storm Ian strengthened into a hurricane Monday morning. The system is moving northwest at 13 mph, about 90 miles southwest of Grand Cayman, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Ian, the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic season, is expected to rapidly intensify on Monday, and could reach Category 4 status, with sustained winds between 130 mph and 156 mph, before making landfall in the Sunshine State.

Ian is currently forecast to impact the west coast of Florida or the Florida Panhandle by midday Thursday, though uncertainty remains surrounding the hurricane’s track and intensity.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for all of Florida on Saturday, urging Floridians to prepare for a storm that could hammer swaths of Florida.

“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”


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