There is no question that the  COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all live our lives day to day. It means businesses, organizations, and communities are all making adjustments to be safe and to wisely move on in life… together. It also means that utilities have made adjustments in how they are preparing for the soon-coming hurricane season.

While working from similar plans as previous years, the Kissimmee Utility Authority has enhanced its storm recovery plans to address challenges created by COVID-19.

KUA works year-round to harden its electric system and provide reliable electricity to customers. This includes updating meters and transformers, replacing power poles and trimming trees.

KUA also jointly owns Cane Island Power Park with the Florida Municipal Power Agency. Located in Osceola County, the four power generators produce affordable, reliable and clean power for Kissimmee and other Florida cities.

During storms, it’s important for local utilities to keep the lights on for as long as possible. When the lights go out, KUA has a strong record of restoring power quickly. Over the last few weeks, utility staff held hurricane drills, began stocking supplies and prepared the power plant in case a major storm hits. Two named storms have already formed before the official start of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins Monday, June 1. Most official and reliable forecasters predict this year will be busier than normal.

KUA and FMPA are ready for storm season, and they encourage their customers to prepare, too. The Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which runs May 29 through June 4 is a great opportunity to stock up on storm supplies like batteries, flashlights, lanterns, a weather radio, tarps, generators and more—all sales-tax free. COVID-19 has created unique needs, so people may want to consider including disinfectants, wipes, face masks and gloves in this year’s hurricane supply kit. Stocking up on these supplies will help people remain same if a hurricane strikes.

KUA will soon publish its annual Hurricane Preparedness Handbook for Osceola County residents. The free handbook includes information on emergency shelters, evacuation routes, power restoration, disaster supplies checklist and helpful telephone numbers.

Delivering safe, reliable power is very important, and as always, KUA is prepared to do that for customers.