SECO Energy completed the final stage of its Hurricane Irma restoration effort on Sunday. At the end of Sunday, the not-for-profit electric cooperative completed power restoration for 99.9 percent of all members affected by Hurricane Irma.
SECO’s infrastructure suffered significant damage as Hurricane Irma traveled directly through its service territory with winds that ranged from a Category 1 to a Category 3 hurricane, per data from the National Hurricane Center. Power outages began Sunday evening, September 10, as Irma’s tropical-storm-force winds entered Central Florida. Members continued to lose power throughout Sunday night and Monday morning when winds increased to hurricane-force speeds. When winds subsided, more than half of SECO’s system was down and more than half of the cooperative’s members were without power.
Restoration began on Monday, September 11, at noon. More than 1,200 SECO crews and line/tree contractors were deployed in full force throughout the system over the next six days to restore power. At the end of the day on Sunday, September 17, SECO’s system was more than 99.9% restored. Only about 70 accounts in South Sumter County are unable to receive electric service at this time due to high water.
The damage to SECO’s system from Hurricane Irma was much more significant than even the damage from the 2004 hurricanes. The damage and disruptions from Hurricane Irma, were unprecedented in SECO’s service territory and across the state.
Today, line and tree trimming contractors are preparing to return home. If a member experiences a new outage, it should be reported at Storm Center using the last name and house number.
For SECO members who were without power, it was a long week. SECO Energy thanks them for their patience and understanding as crews worked to bring substations back online, rebuild feeder lines, replace thousands of broken poles and clear trees from infrastructure. Most important, the company is overwhelmed by and grateful for the thoughtful outreach by hundreds of members across the service area. Citizens brought pizza, sandwiches, cookies, goodie bags and more to the crews in the field and employees in our locations. Members sent notes of encouragement and posted signs of gratitude along the roads.
SECO members are still facing the after effects of Hurricane Irma. A colossal amount of tree branches, trunks and debris remains on the ground and near roadways. Members should call the county where they reside and ask for the debris to be removed. For members who have damage to their homes or property, please call your homeowners’ insurance carrier, county emergency services or FEMA. If you need financial assistance with everyday living expenses due to the hardship of Hurricane Irma, please contact Florida 2-1-1.
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.