LCEC’s preparation begins long before a hurricane threatens to make landfall in Southwest Florida. To ensure LCEC has the resources needed for restoration, the organization cultivates relationships with power line and tree-trimming contractors, fuel companies, material vendors, food service vendors, other cooperatives and local agencies for back-up resources.
In addition, LCEC’s more than 375 employees play a critical role in the restoration plan. Employees put their typical job responsibilities on hold to pitch in during restoration.
LCEC has a detailed restoration plan that outlines priorities of electric restoration during large power outages. LCEC’s plan first calls for restoration of essential services such as hospitals, traffic signals, shelters, law enforcement. Next, power is restored to the largest number of customers. The last to be restored are individual services or services that need to be reconnected after repair to their home electrical system.
LCEC does not disconnect power before a storm. The utility lets Mother Nature run her course, and begins to restore power to impacted areas once winds are at a safe level.
How customers should prepare for outages
• Ensure that you have a back-up telephone if you use a cordless or other telephone that is dependent on electricity.
• Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
What to do when the lights go out
• Help keep LCEC’s telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call LCEC at 656-2300 to report downed power lines.
• Visually check your weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and your meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
• Any damage to your home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power to your home can be restored.
• Turn off your appliances. This will protect them when service is restored, prevent electrical fires and lessen the chances of circuit overload when service is restored. You may leave one light on to serve as a visual signal that power has been restored.
Storm Safety Tips
• Stay clear of downed power lines. They may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
• Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
• Residents on life support need to have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
• If operating a portable generator, keep it outside and in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to your main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and injure you, your neighbors or utility crews working in the area.
• Avoid detaining LCEC employees or contractors while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting, can cause an accident and impedes the process.