51,000 Gulf Power Customers Restored Overnight

Gulf Power restored service to more than 51,000 customers last night in the wake of Hurricane Katrina which left almost 130,000 Northwest Florida customers in the dark.

“Most critical services were restored before sunset on Monday,” said John Hutchinson, company spokesman. “Fortunately, our employees are experienced in storm restoration and are able to get to work quickly and safely despite less than ideal situations.”

Gulf Power estimates that power will be restored to all customers by Wednesday evening. The majority of those who lost power were in the western end of the Panhandle. More than 54,000 are still without power in Escambia County, 15,000 in Santa Rosa and nearly 8,000 in Okaloosa. Customers in Walton and Bay Counties also lost power as Katrina came ashore.

“It has been a long year for all of us on the Gulf Coast, but we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding,” Hutchinson said.

After power has been restored to customers in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power will send employees to help Mississippi Power Company recover from catastrophic losses.

“These neighboring utilities helped us after recent storms and they really need our help now,” Hutchinson said. “We are making plans to give them all the assistance we can once our customers are back on.”

Outages by county as of Tuesday morning:

Escambia - 54,431
Santa Rosa - 15,161
Okaloosa - 7,901
Walton - 424
Bay - 571

Any customers that still do not have electricity restored by Wednesday afternoon, Gulf Power asks that you call 1-800-GU-POWER (487-6937).

Helpful information for customers who have lost power:

Do not connect portable generators to your household wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and Gulf Power employees working on the lines in your neighborhood.

If your meter box or the mast on top of your meter box is damaged, those two items belong to you and you must have an electrician fix it before Gulf Power can restore power.

If you have flooding in your home, above or at the level of your outlets, Gulf Power will not be able to restore power until the home has been inspected by the city of the county.