In the midst of a pandemic, the last thing we need to worry about is a natural disaster. But hurricane season is here – and it’s shaping up to be serious. Tropical Storm Cristobal, which made landfall 500 miles from Orlando in early June, spawned tornados that damaged property, displaced about 50 residents and caused more than 5,000 outages in our service territory. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts an “above normal” Atlantic hurricane season, with 13 to 19 named storms. Let’s all hope NOAA’s 2020 predictions fall short, but let’s also prepare for the possibility that even one powerful hurricane striking Central Florida could be devastating – particularly if our community remains in the grasp of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just as emergency responders join forces to rebuild communities devastated by natural disasters, OUC and other utilities rely on mutual aid, where line workers and other electric and water utility personnel from across the country come together to restore power and water. In 2017, after Category 3 Hurricane Irma disrupted power to 60% of its customers, OUC restored service to all 240,000 of them in six days with support from hundreds of crews from 20 states.
We’ve invested in smart grid technology that lessens the impact of outages, trimmed trees near our power lines and hardened the infrastructure supporting the grid. Our line crews, power generation teams and support staff are trained to work through hurricanes. As your hometown utility, we stand ready day and night – in good times and bad – to keep the lights on and water running. You can do your part, too, by preparing early.
You can do your part, too, by preparing early. If you notice trees that may interfere with power lines, call OUC at 407-423-9018 and they’ll send a crew to inspect and trim them. The next time you’re at the store, pick up an extra pack of batteries and a few gallons of bottled water. The start of hurricane season is also the perfect reminder to make sure your information is current on OUC.com. Consider signing up for outage alerts and look for instructions and other hurricane preparedness resources at www.ouc.com/stormcenter.