SECO Energy serves almost 200,000 members in Sumter, Lake, Marion, Citrus and in small parts of Levy, Hernando and Pasco Counties in Central Florida. Currently, no mandatory evacuations are in effect for the counties SECO serves, but Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) activated and are open to assist the public throughout Central Florida.
Sumter County: EOC Citizens’ Hotline is 352-689-4400. Shelters will be opening and schools are releasing early on Friday.
Lake County: EOC Citizens’ Hotline is 352-253-9999. Nine shelters are now open and schools are releasing early Friday and are closed Monday.
Marion County: EOC Citizens’ Hotline is 352-369-7500. Shelters are open only for Marion County residents – no host shelters available. Schools are closed on Friday and Monday.
Citrus County: No Citizens’ Hotline open. No school closures or shelters have been determined at the time of this release.
Floridians can access www.floridadisaster.org/shelters for shelter information by county, including general population shelters, pet-friendly shelters and special needs shelters.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Irma is maintaining its Category 5 intensity and wind speeds of 175 miles per hour. Irma continues its west-northwestward path at 16 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center predicts Irma will make landfall in south Florida early Sunday morning.
SECO members will likely feel Irma’s effects late this weekend and early next week. SECO’s service area will likely experience tropical storm force winds, torrential rains and the possibility of tornadoes spawned by Hurricane Irma. Members should be prepared for the possibility of lengthy power outages.
Gather your emergency supplies and if you plan on running a portable or backup generator, now is the time to test that it is working properly and you have an adequate supply of fuel. Never use a portable generator in an enclosed area. Generators emit carbon monoxide gas that is a silent, odorless killer. Visit SECO’s website for storm preparation tips and to view an emergency checklist.
Members with smartphones and tablets should bookmark SECO’s Storm Center for easy outage reporting and updates. SECO’s emergency restoration plan determines the system’s restoration priority of each affected feeder. Essential services such as hospitals, shelters, schools and government agencies are the highest priority. Line repairs that will restore power to large groups of members are next, and then individual electric services in less populated areas. To avoid scams and dangers, do not accept restoration 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 storm restoration event. Do not attempt to reconnect services yourself.
SECO’s employees are Storm Ready and waiting to respond if outages occur. 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.