Gulf Power Outages

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Spinnaker restaurant and nightclub on Panama City Beach is a hot spot for spring breakers this time of year, but Monday night it was anything but hot.

A power outage temporarily forced the landmark nightclub to close its doors.

"I did have a line of spring breakers we were able to hold off the line, but I had to close the restaurant an hour early at 7. We lost probably $300 in product. Fortunately the restaurant wasn't as busy as it could have been."

The problem stemmed from two of Gulf Power's substations. Workers were upgrading the Hathaway Substation to handle all of the new beach development. They transferred all of those customers to the substation on Middle Beach Road.

When the cooler weather showed up this past weekend, Gulf Power officials decided to hurry the project along. That caused some short two to three second outages on Sunday and Monday evenings and a 20-minute outage to about 7,000 beach customers, including Spinnaker.

"We've completed all the upgrades to the substation and don't expect anymore outages like this. Normally if we had planned something like this to take the power out we would have notified out customers. This was last minute and just bad timing."

Some claim the outages may have been a result of an overload, caused by new construction and vacationers. Gulf Power says that's not an issue.

"This was the end of an upgrade that more than adequate to meet the demand out here. It's not a question of can we meet the demand; it's a bad timing on wrapping up a project."

But the question remains, is Panama City Beach ready all this growth? During big holiday weekends county officials have asked locals to conserve water to maintain pressure at beach motels.

What happens when an additional 30,000 condominiums go online in the next two years?

"We're in good shape out here on the beach. We've added to the supply, rebuilt it. What's interesting is some of the newer buildings use less water than the old buildings because of the water saving devices."

Jackson says people will still get conservation notices in the summer months as a precautionary measure.

Water officials say beach residents could have full water pressure for three days without power, and indefinitely as long as there is a supply of diesel fuel.