KUA Keeps Eye on Ernesto

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., August 29, 2:00 p.m. – Kissimmee Utility Authority continues to watch Tropical Storm Ernesto closely and make preparations for the storm’s arrival on Wednesday.

The utility on Tuesday elevated to a higher readiness level in order to brace itself for the storm’s anticipated heavy rains and tropical storm force winds. The effects of Tropical Storm Ernesto are expected to strike KUA’s service territory within 24 hours.

Here are frequently asked questions surrounding tropical storms/hurricanes and power outages:

Q. What should I do to report a power outage?
A. Call 407-933-7777 to report power outages or fallen power lines that you feel present a clear and imminent danger to you or others. Be prepared to give the following information: account number, telephone number, nature of problem (power outage, partial power, dim or flickering lights, etc.)

Q. Is it true KUA automatically turns the power off before a tropical storm/hurricane?
A. No, KUA will not automatically turn the power off unless specifically directed to by Osceola County Emergency Management.

Q. Is there a priority system for restoring power during major outages?
A. During major outages, it is necessary to set priorities for restoring power. Our first priority is to restore power to customers who provide essential services to our community, such as hospitals, emergency shelters, police and fire stations. Be assured that KUA will make every effort to restore your power as quickly and safely as possible.

Q. Will KUA crews work through the storm?
A. We will work to keep your lights on until weather forces us to stop. When the winds get above 45 miles per hour or flooding becomes significant, KUA will not put its workers in harms way to restore service. KUA is prepared, however, to put its restoration plan to work immediately after the storm passes by first assessing damage to the power grid and then deploying its workforce to rebuild and repair.

Q. What is the loud noise that occasionally occurs before a power outage?
A. KUA and other electric utilities use fuses on our systems to protect our equipment and lines. The loud noise is a fuse blowing to prevent damage to the system.

Q. Do you have an estimate on how long power outages will last?
A. Each storm is different. So the time it takes depends on the strength and path of the storm, the level of damage and total number of homes and businesses affected. Because of the size and intensity of Tropical Storm Ernesto, residents should plan for some electrical service outages. Please follow all local emergency management recommendations.

Q. Should I attempt to connect my portable electric generator to the electrical system within my home or on KUA’s system?
A. No. Such an attempt could prove deadly. Portable generators are intended to only be connected directly to appliances or other equipment. Attempting to plug in to the system could cause the system to back feed, start an electrical fire or could result in shock or electrocution.

Q. If a storm damages electrical wires inside my home, is KUA responsible for repairs?
A. Typically, no. KUA is responsible for providing power to your meter and service entrance or “weather head.” Beyond that, the customer is responsible for repairs. Contact a qualified electrician.

KUA will post regular updates related to power outages and restoration at www.kua.com. Customers can also check local media outlets for additional information.

Founded in 1901, KUA (www.kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.

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Chris M. Gent
(407) 933-7777 x 1116