Gulf Power Company Says Electricity Could Be Out for Weeks

The Utility is advising its customers to prepare for lengthy power outages if Hurricane Ivan hits northwest Florida.

“We are preparing to work as long, as hard and as safe as we can, but customers should expect and prepare for power outages of three weeks or longer,” company spokesman John Hutchinson said. “Right now Ivan is an extremely dangerous storm and we want our customers to have realistic expectation. The power is not going to be restored in just a few days if Ivan comes in as a category four or five hurricane.”

Gulf Power has already contacted neighboring utilities to bring in extra crews.

The biggest concern is that people in northwest Florida have not seen a category four or five storm in many years and don’t know what to expect. That can lead to frustration and impatience.

Hutchinson says, “This is not an Erin or an Opal where the power was out for just a few days. The power will be out for weeks this time; expect it, prepare for it and tell your neighbors.”

Electricity was out for three weeks in south Florida after Hurricane Charley cam ashore last month. Back in 1992 Hurricane Andrew knocked out power for almost two months. As of Sunday morning Florida Power and Light still had 290,000 customers without electricity because of Hurricane Frances, which hit southwest Florida on September 4.

Area residents shouldn’t expect to see utility trucks in their neighborhoods until days after the storm. That’s because crews have to first restore power to the main lines that feed subdivisions and other population centers.