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Gulf Power preparations

Electricity is important during a storm, no matter what the forecast, Gulf Power is ready to make sure you aren't without power for a long time.

During Hurricane Ivan, Gulf Power says about 360,000 people lost power, some for more than a week. Then, less than a year later, during Hurricane Dennis, another 242,000 went without the juice for several days.  Many who've been through this ordeal remember well the problems that come without power.

"Being very very hot and very uncomfortable," said Northwest Florida resident Glenda Hass. "And of course, nothing in the fridge.  We had to dump everything out of the refrigerator."

"The worst part - the cold shower," said Northwest Florida resident Tammy Messina.

"Well different places but same effect," said Pensacola resident Patrich Cobb. "You lose power…deal with being without things that you're used to and the convenience of having electrical power."

Of course, if another storm comes our way, it's likely that at least some of us will lose power again.  That's why Gulf Power employees re-train themselves every year on the best and quickest ways to get the lights back on.

"We have an annual storm drill every year to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible," said Natalie Smith from Gulf Power. "We have a very experienced storm crew that traveled six times last year to help other utilities as well."

At the distribution control center  on Pine Forest Road, Gulf Power employees keep a constant eye on possible area outages with  additional staffing  during any tropical event.They constantly monitor outages, but still want you to let them know when one occurs.

Of course, in the world of technology, things have changed a lot since Ivan and Dennis and that's a fact not lost on the power company. 

"We had one storm where our likes on our Facebook page grew by a thousand within just a week and that was just one of the smaller storms that grazed this area," Smith said. "So we look at that as something that's going to be huge when a major storm comes through and we're watching other utilities and how they've used social media and things like that."

While we're all hoping for another year without incident, if the lines go down, Gulf Power will have more ways than one to make sure you're plugged in.

If a storm were to hit another location this year, Gulf Power also has crews on stand-by to send to those areas affected by a storm.

Gulf Power preparations

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