WTVY Hurricane Center -> Cleaning Up -> Electrical Safety
Electrical Safety & Restoration
Stay Away From All Downed WiresStay clear of areas where there are a lot of debris or downed trees because they could conceal energized power lines. Also stay clear of chain-link fences which may be energized if touching a downed line.Don’t attempt to repair the electrical system or pull tree limbs off lines. Let the utility company’s trained work crews perform this potentially dangerous work.Don’t step in nearby puddles or attempt to move any object that comes in contact with a wire. Report downed wires immediately to public safety authorities.Following any major storm such as a hurricane or tornado, power outages can be widespread across a utility company’s service territory. The company’s electrical system has a variety of ways to detect outages when they occur.
General GuidelinesIf the entire neighborhood is without power, there is an excellent chance the company already knows and there is no immediate need to call.If you’re without power but all the neighbors are on, then you should make sure the problem is not inside your home’s electrical circuits — like tripped breakers or blown fuses. Check to see if there is obvious damage to the electric meter box or the metal pipe on top, but never touch this equipment, especially if it appears damaged. If all appears normal, report the outage to Gulf Power.If you live in an apartment complex or your entire neighborhood is without power, it helps to speak with your neighbors and ask one resident to report the entire complex or neighborhood. This helps avoid repeat calls and reduces wait time or busy phone lines.Once you report a power outage, there is no need to call Gulf Power again for at least 24 hours. Repeat calls tie up phone lines, making it difficult for other customers to report.
Working the Line
Electrical companies have a detailed restoration plans in the event of a tropical system to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Depending on the severity and projected path of the storm, the company lines up contract line crews from other utility companies in other states to approach our area and wait on standby.
Once the storm arrives, utility employees ride out the storm in safe locations. Once it passes and it is safe, then line crew teams go to work.
The first thing is to make sure the generating plants that produce the electricity are running. Next is the transmission lines that carry the power from the plants to the distribution substations. They are patrolled for any damage. The line crews are divided among the substations affected by the storm. A storm team is assigned to each substation, which uses feeder lines to supply power to homes and businesses.
The first thing a substation team does is send evaluators out to patrol the feeder lines. They assess the damage–whether it is poles, wires, transformers or other equipment — then report their findings to the team leader. That person then gives the information to the leaders of the line crews.
Crews then fan out along the feeders lines, making repairs. If the plant or transmission lines have suffered serious damage and power is still not available to the substations, crews can still make repairs so that when the power is available, the feeders will be ready.
Once repairs have been made and power is restored, crews then work on individual trouble tickets if a resident has a damaged meter. If the power in your neighborhood is restored, but you still don’t have power, contact your utility company.
Sometimes you might notice a nearby neighborhood has power, while yours does not. That likely means the other neighborhood is on a different feeder line and the level of damage might not be as great.
Tips if you see a line crew working in your areaLet them do their job. Storm crews work from sunup to sundown to restore power, so any time spent chatting with residents means longer to get the power restored.Don’t offer food or water. While it is appreciated, each crew is provided with ample supplies to eat and drink.
Check our list of Emergency Phone Numbers for How to contact your local electric utility.