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Gulf Power has safely restored power to essentially all customers impacted by Hurricane Sally

Staff Report
Gulf crews restoring power after Hurricane Sally in Pensacola, Fla. on September 21, 2020.

PENSACOLA – Gulf Power has safely restored service to essentially all of its customers who were affected by Hurricane Sally, completing restoration ahead of original estimates.

Sally made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on Sept. 16 near the Florida-Alabama state line – exactly 16 years after destructive Hurricane Ivan made landfall in the same location. More than 285,000 customers, or nearly 63% of Gulf Power’s customers, experienced outages as Sally brought heavy rain and severe flooding, especially in the western Panhandle. Gulf Power assembled a restoration workforce of 7,000 working primarily out of 12 staging sites to restore power for its customers safely and as quickly as possible – which was accomplished within 5 days after Sally left Gulf Power’s service area and it was safe to begin restoration work.

“I want to thank our community partners for their support in so many ways as we worked together to get our region back up and running,” said Marlene Santos, president of Gulf Power. “We know that getting the power back on is critical to beginning to restore normalcy for communities. I also want to thank our dedicated employees and the mutual assistance crews who worked around the clock to help us get our customers’ lights back on ahead of schedule – and most importantly, we completed this work safely.”

As Gulf Power winds down major restoration efforts, the company is closing some of its staging sites and releasing some of its restoration workforce. Among those providing mutual assistance was Gulf Power’s sister company, Florida Power & Light Company, which sent more than 1,800 employees and contractors in support. Gulf Power recently sent nearly 70 employees to South Florida when Hurricane Isaias was threatening the state.

“Mutual assistance is a hallmark of our industry. Just as Gulf Power has been happy to assist other utilities with restoration efforts, we appreciate the willingness of FPL and others to step up and help us serve our customers in their time of need,” Santos said.

Report your outage

Customers who still do not have power should first check their breakers. If this is not the issue, they should report the outage on the Gulf Power App, online at GulfPower.com or using the automated system at 1-800-GU-POWER (800-487-6937).

Returning the system to its normal state

Our first priority after a storm is restoring power to customers. With major restoration efforts winding down, Gulf Power will now complete any follow up work needed, such as picking up damaged equipment that may have been left behind. Please don’t put any yard debris on top of electrical equipment because that can be dangerous.

Gulf Power will also begin work to return the electric system to its normal state. This will include work that customers can see – such as resetting poles that may be leaning – as well as other things that customers can’t see. This will include actions like using drones to evaluate the system, similar to taking an x-ray of the system to identify any potential issues.

Debris clean up

Watch for overhead power lines while using equipment to remove debris. Energized power lines could also be concealed by debris and fallen trees.

Do not pick up any utility equipment. Some utility equipment (like capacitors, capacitor banks and transformers) may still contain a dangerous charge.

Do not cut cable or fiber optic lines. Cable or fiber lines can be anywhere. They may be suspended between poles, partially suspended, on the ground or underground.

Do not make contact with padmount transformers when picking up debris.

All debris should be stacked at least 10' away from electrical equipment such as power lines or padmount transformers. Do not place debris on top of green padmount transformers or pedestals.

Stay connected 

Gulf Power communicates storm preparation and restoration information to customers frequently through the news media and the following resources:   

Gulf Power website: GulfPower.com  

Twitter: Twitter.com/GulfPower  

Facebook: Facebook.com/GulfPowerCompany  

Gulf Power Outage Map: Map.GulfPower.com  

Gulf Power Mobile app: Download for free by searching for “Gulf Power” in iTunes or the Google Play store  

Customers can download the Gulf Power mobile app for on-the-go, instant and secure access to their accounts. Through the app customers can also report or get the latest information on an outage.