Irma inundated SECO Energy’s service area with hurricane-force winds from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. More than 100,000 members are known to be without power. The outages affect more than 100 feeders. Eight SECO substations are completely out due to transmission outages – including six Duke Energy transmission outages, one City of Ocala transmission outage, and one SECO-owned transmission outage.
SECO has developed a priority plan to restore feeders with hospitals, shelters, schools and government agencies located on them. The next priority is to assess the entire system and execute a plan that restores power to large groups of members next, and then to less populated areas with individual electric services.
Though winds have not allowed SECO to begin the system assessment, the company anticipates that damage will be extensive and the restoration may take days or even weeks. Seek shelter if you or your loved ones need power to run life-saving medical devices. Floridians can access www.floridadisaster.org/shelters for shelter information by county, including general population shelters, pet-friendly shelters and special needs shelters.
Once safe, SECO employees and hundreds of line and tree contractors will converge throughout the service territory to conduct restoration according to the emergency plan priorities outlined above. Hundreds of bucket trucks, front-end loaders, cranes, and other heavy equipment are already assembled at SECO.
If you are using a portable or backup generator, never let it run in enclosed spaces. Generators emit carbon monoxide gas that is a silent, odorless killer. Ensure these are connected correctly. Do not tamper with a meter to connect a generator as this requires a licensed electrician. Safety tips and storm preparation tips are available on SECO’s website at www.secoenergy.com>Safety>Storm Preparation.
Members with smartphones and tablets should use SECO’s Storm Center to report outages to ensure the company is aware of your service status. CenturyLink phone lines are down, so please report your outages online. To avoid scams and dangers, do not accept restoration or tree trimming assistance from someone who is asking for payment on the spot and is not a SECO employee or contractor. Under no circumstances would SECO ask for payment in the field during a restoration event. Do not attempt to reconnect services yourself.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, SECO is dedicated to being our members’ first source for accurate storm information. “Like” SECO’s Facebook page and “follow” the company on Twitter to stay updated about storms affecting our area.