Less than two weeks following the devastation of nearly Category 5 Hurricane Michael, the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Panhandle region, power has been fully restored to all public power customers who can accept power, reports the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA).
At peak, more than 400,000 customers in the region were without power with nearly 122,000 of them from five Florida public power communities – Tallahassee, Havana, Quincy, Chattahoochee and Blountstown. Tallahassee had more than 113,000, or 95 percent, of its customers out and lost nearly 60 percent of its transmission. Havana, Quincy, Chattahoochee and Blountstown were left 100 percent in the dark.
Crews from these communities, working alongside mutual aid crews from all over the state and country, immediately began the process of restoring power as soon as it was safe. For the third Atlantic hurricane season in a row, FMEA activated the American Public Power Association mutual aid network and put out a long-range call for mutual aid assistance several days before the storm made landfall. More than 600 power restoration personnel from 16 states and more than 80 utilities came to help restore power and rebuild the electric grid in the affected communities.
“Thousands of peoples’ lives were forever changed on October 10 and it will take some time to fully rebuild the communities that bore the full brunt of Michael’s force. FMEA extends our heartfelt appreciation to everyone that reached out to help us and our neighbors, especially to all the lineworkers who suffered through some difficult situations to come to our aid and help restore power to our communities. Words cannot describe how incredibly grateful we are,” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director.
The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than 3 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.