ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 26, 2011) – With the approach of the 2011 hurricane season comes the heightened need for anyone living in storm-prone areas to review their emergency plans and take proactive steps to protect their homes and families. Progress Energy Florida continually strengthens its system against storms to reduce the likelihood and severity of outages while providing safe, reliable electric service to its more than 1.6 million Florida customers. The utility urges customers to prepare for storms before severe weather strikes to provide additional peace of mind.
"Safety is our top priority as a company, and at no time is that an area of greater emphasis than when severe weather strikes our service territory," said Vincent Dolan, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida. "We have an outstanding track record when it comes to responding to storms, and we're prepared to immediately mobilize our Florida and Carolinas resources to respond quickly and safely to any challenges we may face during the 2011 hurricane season."
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
In order to prepare for what forecasters have labeled an "above average" hurricane season, customers should:
Progress Energy Florida customers who lose power should call the 24-hour automated outage line at 800-228-8485. By calling this number, customers can obtain the same information available from our customer service associates. It is the fastest way to report a power outage, and even offers an option to call customers back if updates are available on when power will be restored. This state-of-the-art technology is capable of handling more than 125,000 calls per hour during widespread outages.
The company also has customer service centers equipped and staffed to respond to power outages and to help efficiently direct crews to affected areas quickly, 24 hours a day.
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.
For information on all of the utility's outage reporting options, visit www.progress-energy.com/storm.
Following a major storm, Progress Energy repairs any damage to power plants that produce power as well as the lines that carry electricity from the plants into communities is repaired first. Then, power is restored to customers who provide essential services to the community -- such as hospitals and police stations. Next, repairs are made to damage that will return power to the greatest number of customers in the least amount of time. Finally, once major repairs are complete, power is restored to small groups and individual customers.
To keep customers informed following a storm, the company has developed an online outage map showing up-to-date information about current disruptions in service. The outage map can be viewed at www.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.
Progress Energy's commitment to excellence in storm response has earned the utility the Emergency Response Award from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) five times in the program's 11-year history. Progress Energy also won the EEI Emergency Assistance Award for its role in aiding utilities and citizens in Texas and Ohio following Hurricane Ike in 2008, and in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
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 www.progress-energy.com.
Media contact: Progress Energy Florida 24-hour media line, 866.520.6397
Follow Progress Energy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ProgressEnergy
Follow Progress Energy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyFlorida