Hurricane Matthew’s bands of high wind and rain passed through SECO Energy’s service territory on Friday afternoon. Lake County bore the brunt of the damage. Winds reached the eastern portion of Marion County and Citrus County sustained some utility damage as well.
As expected with tropical storm wind gusts, poles and lines went down. Big trees fell. Restoration began in the wee hours Friday morning when the very first storm related outage occurred and continues into the overnight hours on Friday. Hundreds of line and tree trimming contractors and hundreds of SECO employees supporting the restoration effort were prepared to brave the storm when duty called.
The contractors had been arranged in advance and were staged at SECO’s headquarters throughout the day on Thursday. This was a key component in a speedy restoration effort. As of Friday at 6 pm, less than 5,000 members remain without power. Line and tree personnel continue to work in the dark to get the lights back on for those still without power. The members who remain without power can rest assure work will continue diligently until all service is restored.
SECO Energy CEO Jim Duncan stated, “I commend the SECO employees who worked hard to prepare for Hurricane Matthew and execute an extremely comprehensive emergency response plan. I also must commend Governor Scott for being fully engaged in arranging assistance and removing roadblocks to serving the public.” SECO Energy is a two-time J.D. Power award winner for Highest in Customer Satisfaction in its segment in 2015 and 2016.
Providing reliable, low-cost power to members with outstanding customer service is SECO’s highest priority. The company’s internal employee battle cry is “Every moment is meaningful. Every member matters. Every minute counts.” The company rallied behind the battle cry in Hurricane Matthew as it did with Hurricane Hermine in September.
If a member is unsure SECO is aware of an outage, it’s easy to report it using a smartphone or tablet at the Storm Center application. Members can contact SECO via Facebook and Twitter and read outage details. For members less tech savvy, call and talk to a member service rep (or use the prompts to report the outage by phone at 800-732-6141. SECO’s System Operations Center is manned 24/7, and SECO’s call center will remain manned 24/7 until all hurricane related outages are restored. The Lake County Emergency Operations Center remains open as do shelters. The EOC’s contact number is 352-343-9420.
As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, SECO is dedicated to being members’ first source for accurate storm information.