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Lakeland Electric Wins FMEA Building Strong Communities Award

The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) recently honored the community service efforts of Lakeland Electric by recognizing the municipal electric utility with the 2017 Building Strong Communities Award.

Honored during the Building Strong Communities luncheon at FMEA’s annual Energy Connections Conference and Trade Show in St. Augustine on November 8, Lakeland Electric received the award for its commitment to enhancing its customers’ quality of life through community improvement programs such as ReEnergize Lakeland, Customer Academy and Community Giving.

“Being a part of the community is about more than making sure the lights are on,” said FMEA Executive Director Amy Zubaly. “The recipients of the 2017 FMEA Building Strong Communities Awards excel in not only taking an interest in seeing their communities succeed, but also actively working toward making them better places to live and building strong communities.”

About FMEA: The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than 3 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.

Lakeland Electric Crews to Aid Puerto Rico

Lakeland, Fla. – Lakeland Electric is proud to send Lineman Crews to help Puerto Rico rebuild their electric grid damaged by Hurricane Maria. The 20-member crew will leave early next week and work in Puerto Rico for 30 days. In addition to the 16 Linemen, 2 Mechanics, 1 Lead Supervisor, and 1 Engineer, Lakeland Electric is sending 10 vehicles, including 6 large bucket trucks. The trucks left today to be loaded onto a barge and shipped to the island.

As a municipal utility owned by the City of Lakeland and as a member of the Florida Municipal Electric Association, Lakeland Electric is proud to join two of our sister municipal utilities, Jacksonville Electric Authority and Kissimmee Utility Authority, who are already in Puerto Rico.

To follow the story of our crews in Puerto Rico, please visit our website at www.lakelandelectric.com or our Facebook page - My Lakeland Electric. We will post regular updates, photos, and video.

Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida serving 126,000 customers with production capability of over 1100 Megawatts. The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889.

The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provides electricity to more than 3 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.

Power Restoration Process

After a major storm has passed and it is safe for LAKELAND ELECTRIC crews to work, LAKELAND ELECTRIC assesses the damage to our system and begins the restoration process. This effort could take several days, depending on the level of damage the system sustains. After the assessment is complete, LAKELAND ELECTRIC will have a better idea of how long it will take to restore service to customers. Also during this time, LAKELAND ELECTRIC will be communicating updates through local media outlets about outages, where crews are working and the progress being made.

If you have damage where the electric wires attach to your house, you must have a licensed electrician repair it before we can restore power to your house. 
Homeowner's Responsibilities After a Storm 

LAKELAND ELECTRIC Does Not Restore a Specific Side of Town Before the Other

The only customers that receive any special consideration are hospitals, public safety and other life support or life-sustaining institutions. Typically, these large customers are served by very large electric lines, which are the first lines to be repaired anyway.
Customers should keep in mind that stopping the engineers to ask questions will slow down this assessment and can also slow down the overall restoration effort.

Why Do Restoration Times Differ Within a Neighborhood?

There are many reasons why your neighborhood may have areas without power next to areas with power:

  • In many instances, a single street is served by two different main power lines and/or substations, which explains why your neighbors may have power restored before you do.
  • It could also be that you and your neighbor do not share the same power line (more specifically, the same circuit).
  • The power line feeding electricity to your home may be damaged, while the one to your neighbor's house is not.
  • It also could be that your individual connection requires repair.
  • It may also be possible that your home needs internal electrical repairs before you can receive service.
  • If you see a crew passing but not stopping, it may be because work must be performed at a nearby location before electricity can be restored to your home.

Again, LAKELAND ELECTRIC will work to restore power to the largest number of customers first, moving to individual locations once power has been restored to major concentrations of customers.

Restoring Power Safely and Efficiently

Lakeland Electric generally restores power in the sequence that will result in returning service to the greatest number of customers as soon as possible. 
Here’s how the restoration process works: 

  1. The first step in our restoration plan is damage assessment, which includes physical inspections of our facilities and plants. Once damage assessments have been made, LAKELAND ELECTRIC begins repairs.
  2. We begin repairs to our generating facilities and transmission lines from those plants, and to water and wastewater treatment facilities.
  3. Next, we move on to main line repairs on electric circuits, water and sewer systems that serve critical facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations.
  4. It is our goal to restore services to the greatest number of customers as soon as possible. 
  5. Once the large impact areas have had power restored, LAKELAND ELECTRIC begins restoring power to those small pockets or individuals still without power.

September is National Preparedness Month

Hurricane season in Florida can be unpredictable, but your plan doesn’t have to be. Many people think that hurricane season is just the months of June, July, and August. In reality, hurricane season spans from June all the way until November. The last few years we have been lucky, and major storms have missed our area. From the past, we know that storms do come through Lakeland. If left unprepared, damage from a large storm can leave you feeling hopeless. It is important you and your family have a plan before a storm arrives. Hurricane plans should be more than just a supply of canned food and a handful of batteries. It is important to also think about having cash on you, filling up your gas tank before the storm, preparing evacuation routes, reviewing your insurance policies and making arrangements for pets.

Whether you have had a storm plan in place for years or have never thought about it before, please take the time to look our 2017/2018 Hurricane Guide. Your safety and security is one of our top priorities all year, but especially during storm season. When you look at the guide, you will see storm kit tips, important telephone numbers, generator safety, local shelter locations, and much more. The guide also includes a fun kid’s activity page! Print it out and help us get even the youngest residents of Lakeland involved in hurricane preparedness!

Our goal at Lakeland Electric will always be to restore power as quickly as possible when severe weather strikes while maintaining the highest safety protocols for our workers. We work proactively to ensure our electrical grid is strong. One way we do that is by trimming trees year round to help reduce power outages following severe weather. The lush foliage that makes our city beautiful can also contribute to outages if we receive a hurricane. Always remember, if there are downed power lines, or potential hazards call 911.

The events of Hurricane Harvey have shown the devastating power of mother nature. As always, we are ready to assist if called. While our hearts go out to the people of Texas and those affected by Hurricane Harvey, these events also serve as a reminder to our community to prepare as best we can for severe weather.

There is no such thing as preparing too much or too early when it comes to hurricanes!

Find the Hurricane Guide 24/7 on our website or download a copy.

#NatlPrep #PlanAhead #PoweredForLife