Gulf Power announced that on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 13 days after Hurricane Michael left the Florida Panhandle and 30 hours ahead of estimated timeline, it had restored power to more than 95% of all customers who were able to safely take power. Gulf Power had originally estimated that power restoration would be completed on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at midnight. Gulf Power, alongside storm crews from across the country, have rebuilt a significant portion of the electrical system in Bay County, which serves approximately 103,000 customers.
“This is a major milestone. It was important for us to quickly mobilize the resources needed to rebuild our energy system and restore power for our Gulf Power customers for this critical first step in recovery for the entire community,” said Stan Connally, chairman, president and CEO of Gulf Power. “However, the work is just beginning for many, with thousands of Gulf Power customers unable to safely reconnect.”
While more than 95% of the customers who could take power are restored, Gulf Power estimates there are approximately 15,000 to 20,000 customers who still cannot safely take power due to hurricane damage to their home or business.
“The entire storm restoration team has felt the appreciation and encouragement from the community, and we want to thank each one of our customers for their patience and support as we worked around the clock to restore power,” Connally said. “And that commitment won’t stop as we transition our work to customer reconnects and completing the rebuild of the smart-grid infrastructure.”
Gulf Power is committed to continuing the restoration for the less-than-five percent of customers remaining who can safely take power and for customers who will need to repair their homes, businesses and electrical equipment in order to receive power safely.
Although much of the workforce from around the country will be returning to their homes and families, more than 1,000 crew members including transmission, distribution, tree trimmers and damage assessment team members will remain as boots on the ground. This large restoration team will be focused on customer reconnects, electrical equipment clean up and physically and electrically repairing the system to pre-storm condition and reliability.
“We are keeping a team of approximately 10 times the number of crew members than normally work the four-county area affected by Hurricane Michael to ensure we can serve our customers as quickly and safely as possible. It is our mission to assist in accelerating the recovery of these communities because this is our home and we are here to stay,” said Connally. “This was an unprecedented storm, and our unprecedented response will continue.”
Restoring Power – By the Numbers
- 16 states and Canada were represented by crews on our system
- 3,161 distribution line crew members
- 439 transmission line crew members
- 1,246 tree-trimming crew members
- 2,204 support personnel
- 6 staging sites are set up in the heart of the damage to house and feed approximately 7,000 crew members and support personnel
- More than 6,800 distribution poles have been replaced
- More than 4,400 vehicles on the ground (including bucket trucks, fuel trucks, service trucks, pick-up trucks)
- 705,400 gallons of fuel have been used
- More than 300,000 meals served (+21,000 meals per day) to storm crew personnel