North Florida Public Power Utilities Experienced Significant Damage Due to Hurricane Michael

Community ,

Update - 10am Friday

Extremely strong Category 4 Hurricane Michael cut a path of destruction across north Florida that caused significant damage to the electric systems of five of Florida’s public power utilities, including the City of Quincy, City of Chattahoochee, City of Blountstown, City of Tallahassee and Town of Havana.

The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) is reporting 100 percent of customers in the cities of Quincy, Chattahoochee and Blountstown and Town of Havana are without power. Once transmission to those communities is restored, some customers will begin to come back online. The City of Tallahassee, which has 76 percent of its customers without power, had a significant percent of its transmission lines and substations out. Crews in Tallahassee are working to restore those, along with critical care facilities, first.

There are approximately 96,800 public power customers without power following Hurricane Michael.

A total of 550 public power and investor-owned utility mutual aid crews from Florida and 14 other states are working to restore power in the public power communities. Power is always restored in a priority order. The first step is to assess the damage by identifying downed lines and damaged areas. Crews then begin restoring power by repairing power plants, transmission lines, substations and main distribution lines. Next on the priority list are essential facilities, such as hospitals, fire stations and police departments. Water pumping stations and communications facilities are also critical needs that are a priority for power restoration. A focus is also placed on vulnerable groups, including nursing home residents and those with special medical needs. After these critical areas are restored, efforts to restore power to residential and business customers begin. Circuits with the greatest number of customers on them are restored first in order to maximize the number of people with power.

Hurricane Michael caused major damage to communities in north Florida. FMEA reminds residents that there is still danger even after a storm has moved out of the area. Downed power lines pose a significant threat. Residents should keep these important safety precautions in mind as they clean up after Hurricane Irma:

  • Never, ever touch a downed power line or go near one. Always assume the power line is live.
  • Do not touch anything or anyone in contact with a fallen power line or other equipment.
  • If a power line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle and call for help.
  • Do not pull tree limbs off power lines. Leave those for utility crews to safely handle.
  • Avoid areas with debris and downed trees. There could be live power lines hidden inside.
  • Also avoid chain link fences and puddles that could have become electrified by downed power lines.