NewsLocal NewsIn Your Neighborhood

Actions

INSIDE LOOK: Power providers preparing now for 2024 hurricane season

Posted at 11:25 AM, May 29, 2024
  • Hurricanes and storms can knock out power for days or weeks in some cases.
  • Power providers in the Big Bend are working to prepare for the 2024 hurricane season.
  • Watch the video above for an inside look at their efforts to keep the power on.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Jefferson County neighbors are all too familiar with the aftermath of widespread power outages after hurricanes. I'm Shamarria Morrison, your neighborhood reporter in Monticello.

I'm looking into how area power companies are preparing for not just this hurricane season but the lesson they learned over the past few years with major storms in our area.

During a hurricane, power is compromised, and it's up to people like linemen, dispatchers, and teams like this to get power back to you.

"We're having dress rehearsals all throughout the year. We have we respond to thunderstorms. We have high wind events," explained Tri-County Electric CooperativeCEO Julius Hackett. He gave me a behind-the-scenes look into their facilities and training prep for hurricane Season.

Screenshot 2024-05-24 at 11.11.56 AM.png
CEO Julius Hackett talks with ABC 27's Shamarria Morrison

Hackett tells me about the challenges they've faced. "We have power lines across creeks, we have power lines at cross pond, we have just huge live oak trees that we battle where we have canopy trees that we try to protect."

They've been working to be more proactive for years. "We are taking power lines that may be cross country out in the woods where we're bringing a lot of those power lines back to the road, where shortening the postman is the distance between poles and using heavier wire."

Tri-County is part of a co-op network that provides electric services for some of the most rural parts of our neighborhoods. Many times they're teaming up with neighboring—and nationwide co-ops to respond faster to widespread power outages.

"We've got our everything we would need to sustain power restoration here," explained Trevor Touchton, SVEC’s manager of power technical systems.

At Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperativewe're in their ops-bunkers. The storm-hardened facility was born out of a previous hurricane.

"After Irma, we realized, hey, we we really had, you know, one area to do this work. If if we had something happen or anything got damaged, we would be out of a location to work," Touchton added.

Screenshot 2024-05-24 at 11.13.04 AM.png
Inside an SVEC ops bunker

Investing in control centers that would sustain major hurricane-force winds directly impacts restoration planning. "You can take the phone calls, you can see what's going off and you can try to turn things on with our remote system. Or turn things off if you have an issue or something's a danger to public."

After a storm, power is first restored first to critical infrastructure like Hospitals, emergency services, and water treatment plants.

Next are major power lines that feed electricity into substations.

After that crews repair damaged substations and distribution lines that carry electricity to neighborhoods.

Last are individual homes and businesses.