Tropical Storm Debby damage prompts acceleration of new transmission line project
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 28, 2012) - Progress Energy Florida crews are nearing completion of a new transmission line from Eastpoint to St. George Island that will restore power to the island. The company has updated the estimated repair time and power is now expected to be restored by 8 p.m. tonight. Severe weather conditions spawned by Tropical Storm Debby disrupted power to St. George Island. Progress Energy accelerated the new transmission line project to restore power in time for the 4th of July holiday.
Sunday evening, Tropical Storm Debby destroyed three transmission structures carrying the line that supplies electricity to St. George Island. Rather than repairing the old line, Progress Energy expedited the new line project, resulting in a quicker repair. " "After a thorough evaluation of our options, it was more favorable for our customers to accelerate the new project," said Vincent Dolan, Progress Energy Florida president and CEO."This important project helps strengthen the system against severe weather, and underscores our company's commitment to delivering dependable electric service to all our customers."
The work included using helicopter crews to access the transmission structures crossing St. George Sound.
Once the transmission line is energized, there is a possibility that some customers may find that they are experiencing individual outages as a result of additional storm damage. Customers on St. George Island, or elsewhere on Progress Energy Florida's system, still without power from the storm should report the outage at 800-228-8485. Using the company's automated reporting system ensures each outage is captured in the restoration plan and will allow Progress Energy to provide restoration time estimates and updates to individual customers.
Under the original plan, electric service was to be switched to the upgraded, storm-hardened line on July 9. The company has rebuilt more than 38 miles of high-voltage transmission lines running from Port St. Joe to Eastpoint and out to St. George Island to improve service in Gulf and Franklin counties and strengthen the line against storms. The old wooden transmission structures were impacted by severe weather three times over the last five years. The newly installed concrete transmission poles and the upgraded distribution lines weathered Tropical Storm Debby without incident. As part of the overall project, Progress Energy also upgraded the distribution lines on St. George Island and performed vegetation management work to further strengthen the system.
The $50 million transmission line rebuild project has been under construction since 2010, with the final segment connecting Eastpoint to St. George Island to be energized tonight.
For more restoration and safety information, visit www.progress-energy.com/storm or follow Progress Energy Florida on Facebook and Twitter.
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.
Media contact: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line, 866.520.6397
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