KISSIMMEE, Fla., October 19, 10:00 a.m. – Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) is watching Hurricane Wilma closely and reviewing the utility’s emergency procedures to restore electricity as quickly and safely as possible should the storm strike the Kissimmee area.
KUA’s management team met Wednesday morning to review emergency plans and discuss possible activation of the utility’s emergency operations command center. The utility also reviewed its mutual aid agreements that would bring additional crews from other utilities to Kissimmee to provide restoration assistance if needed.
“We are ready to respond if the storm affects our service area,” said Jim Welsh, KUA’s president and general manager. “We’re back to full staff and ready to go.”
KUA just recently got all of its service crews back after sending many of them to Mississippi to help restore electric service in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
If power goes out, KUA advises customers to check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if the outage might be the result of a household problem.
Customers who experience a power outage are asked to call the utility’s 24-hour outage line at 407-933-7777. After severe weather, KUA crews restore power by repairing power plants, transmission lines, substations and main distribution lines. Once the main power lines are repaired, crews turn their attention to individual customer outages.
KUA reminds customers to be safe as the storm passes through the area and offers these safety reminders:
* Stay away from downed lines, and warn others to do the same. Contact KUA or local emergency officials to report downed lines.
* Do not venture out in the dark because it is difficult to see a downed power line that could still be energized and dangerous.
* Wait a reasonable amount of time before calling KUA to report an outage if your entire neighborhood is without power. The utility can electronically detect widespread outages. Extra calls only jam switchboards.
* Do not connect portable generators to your home’s household wiring. This can send electricity back out onto the power lines, seriously injuring or killing linemen working in your neighborhood. Only connect appliances directly to the generator.
* Keep freezer doors closed and sealed. Well-filled freezers keep most foods frozen two to three days if the door is kept closed.
* Turn off large appliances and air conditioners until after the power has been restored.
* Turn off your breakers if you live in a flood prone area.
* Do not attempt to remove or trim foliage within 10 feet of a power line.
* Please be patient. KUA crews will work as fast as safety allows.
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