Customers able to report outages via compatible mobile devices
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 9, 2010) – Progress Energy Florida is supplementing its ongoing commitment to strengthen its system against storms by introducing a new tool to help customers report power outages more easily in advance of the 2011 hurricane season. In addition to its automated outage reporting line, the utility has expanded its online resources to allow customers to report outages using computers and compatible mobile devices.
“We take a comprehensive, year-round approach to strengthening our system against storms,” said Jason Cutliffe, system storm coordinator for Progress Energy Florida. “However, we recognize that no amount of preparation can prevent all storm-related power outages. The new online outage reporting tool gives our customers another way to communicate with our company, helping ensure any disruptions in service are recognized immediately and power is restored as quickly and as safely as possible.”
For information on all of the utility’s outage reporting options, visit progress-energy.com/storm. Progress Energy encourages customers interested in using mobile devices or computers to report outages to register in advance of storm season. Customers will need their account number, located on their bill, to register.
The new online outage reporting tool is one small piece of the company’s overall hurricane season preparation efforts. In 2010 alone, Progress Energy invested thousands of staff hours and more than $177 million to strengthen its Florida system against storms. This includes the replacement of poles and other equipment upgrades to minimize the likelihood of outages when storms strike.
Every year, Progress Energy analyzes and improves its system – which consists of a complex network of nearly 50,000 miles of power lines carrying electricity from 14 power plants to more than 1.6 million customers across 35 Florida counties. In addition, the utility annually conducts a weeklong storm drill to fine-tune response plans throughout the service territory. Whenever a major storm causes outages in Progress Energy’s service territory, the utility dispatches technicians to assess the damage and identify opportunities for improvement.
A key part of Progress Energy’s efforts to minimize the impact of storms also includes its year-round program of trimming or removing trees growing dangerously close to power lines. In addition to presenting safety concerns, such vegetation can greatly increase the likelihood of outages when hurricane-force winds batter the area.
But no system can be completely storm proof, and major storms will cause power outages. When outages occur, the company’s award-winning restoration team responds quickly.
In addition to its new online reporting system, the company’s state-of-the-art customer service centers are equipped and staffed to respond to power outages and to help direct crews to affected areas quickly, 24 hours a day.
To keep customers informed following a storm, the company’s online outage map shows up-to-date information about current disruptions in service. The outage map can be viewed atwww.progress-energy.com/outagemap.
Progress Energy also sends updates on storm-related outage restorations via Twitter and Facebook. Customers can follow Progress Energy at www.twitter.com/progressenergy and www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyFlorida.
For more storm-related information for Progress Energy customers, 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.