T&D World Magazine

Progress Energy Florida Prepared for Hurricane Wilma

Progress Energy Florida is carefully monitoring Hurricane Wilma and is prepared to activate its storm-response plan if the company's service area is threatened.

"We are ready to respond immediately if any of our service territory is affected by Hurricane Wilma," said David McDonald, Progress Energy Florida's system storm coordinator. "We have evaluated our resources and are working closely with local and state officials and other utilities to make sure we have the right plan in place to respond to Wilma."

The changing forecasts and weather conditions steering Wilma make predicting landfall difficult at this time. Progress Energy is preparing for a variety of scenarios from bringing in additional resources to respond to maximum impact to its Central Florida service territory to providing assistance to neighboring Florida utilities if the worst impact is outside the Progress Energy system. The company will continue to monitor the storm and adjust its resource plans as needed.

Progress Energy uses a comprehensive plan to respond rapidly to storm damage. The plan provides procedures for mobilizing employees to handle storm- response duties, to quickly evaluate storm damage, to coordinate line crew and equipment mobilization required for repairs, and to arrange meals and lodging for out-of-town workers.

After severe weather, Progress Energy crews restore power by simultaneously repairing transmission lines, substations and main distribution lines. Once the main power lines and facilities are repaired, crews turn their attention to individual service wires.

This state-of-the-art technology helped Progress Energy answer more than 2.1 million phone calls last year during Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. It is also capable of taking more than 125,000 calls per hour during widespread outages.

"Wilma is a dangerous storm, and we urge our customers to make their preparations now," said McDonald. "Because of the uncertainty we should all be prepared for the possibility of damage and power outages."

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