ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2011) – As mighty Hurricane Irene churns in the Atlantic Ocean, Progress Energy employees are monitoring the potential path of the storm and implementing early phases of the company's comprehensive storm plan.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Progress Energy Florida is sending 250 line and service personnel from across its 35-county territory to assist its sister utility, Progress Energy Carolinas and other local utilities, if needed, with expected damage and power outages from Hurricane Irene. Crews will be staged in Florence, South Carolina and be deployed in Progress Energy’s North and South Carolina territory as needed following the initial damage assessments. The Florida crews and an additional 50 support personnel are planning to be deployed for up to 10 days, depending on the impact of the storm.
The latest forecasts predict landfall Saturday in the N.C. Outer Banks. That track would bring high winds and heavy rain to Progress Energy Carolinas’ eastern N.C. service area, likely resulting in some power outages along the coast and in the coastal plain.
Forecasts do not indicate the company’s Florida territory will sustain impact from the storm. Crews will not leave the state until after the threat has passed. The deployment will not affect the ability to respond to outages or service needs within the Florida service areas. The company is maintaining crews in the state and can recall crews as needed if another storm threatens Florida.
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 deployment to repair damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in support of a devastating ice storm in Oklahoma in December 2007, following Hurricane Ike’s impact to Texas in 2008, and, most recently, to Alabama following tornadoes in April.
Progress Energy and its customers also benefited from the company’s SEE membership after major storms. Crews from numerous other southeastern utilities came to Florida to assist after several 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.
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.
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 www.progress-energy.com.