ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 28, 2011) – About 150 Progress Energy Florida employees and contractors are en route to devastated portions of Alabama to assist local utilities in restoring power to the hundreds of thousands of customers affected by this week’s deadly tornadoes.
The storms that pummeled Alabama and neighboring states in recent days are blamed for hundreds of deaths and reportedly damaged buildings, uprooted trees and took down power lines. The extensive damage caused by storms such as these can make storm restoration efforts particularly challenging.
“Progress Energy, like many utilities, is ready to lend a hand whenever severe storms cause power outages,” said Jason Cutliffe, system storm coordinator for Progress Energy Florida. “Our restoration crews are highly trained and experienced. We are ready for the difficult work ahead to help bring life back to normal for those affected.”
Crews from across Progress Energy’s service territory have been dispatched to assist in the restoration. More crews may be sent if the local utilities in Alabama request additional support.
The deployment to Alabama will not affect the company’s ability to respond to outages or service needs within its service areas. The company is maintaining crews in all parts of Progress Energy’s service areas and can recall crews as needed if a major storm threatens Florida.
The crews supporting other utilities’ restoration efforts are paid by the utility requesting the service. Progress Energy customers in Florida will not bear any of the cost of the assistance.
Progress Energy Florida is a member of the Southeastern Electric Exchange (SEE), a group of investor-owned electric utility companies in the region that support each other, as needed, following major storms. Progress Energy has sent crews to storm-damaged areas many times, including large-scale repair damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in support of a devastating ice storm in Oklahoma in December 2007 and following Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Progress Energy and its customers also benefited from the company’s SEE membership after major storms, when crews from numerous other southeastern utilities came to Florida to assist after severe storms, including the major hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 and most recently after severe storms knocked out power to nearly 400,000 customers at the end of March.
For more information on Progress Energy’s storm response efforts, visit www.progress-energy.com/storms.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit progress-energy.com.
# # #
Follow Progress Energy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ProgressEnergy
Follow Progress Energy Florida on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyFlorida