LCEC’s preparation begins long before a hurricane threatens to make landfall in Southwest Florida. To ensure LCEC has the resources needed for restoration, the organization cultivates relationships with power line and tree-trimming contractors, fuel companies, material vendors, food service vendors, other cooperatives and local agencies for back-up resources.
In addition, LCEC’s more than 375 employees play a critical role in the restoration plan. Employees put their typical job responsibilities on hold to pitch in during restoration.
LCEC has a detailed restoration plan that outlines priorities of electric restoration during large power outages. LCEC’s plan first calls for restoration of essential services such as hospitals, traffic signals, shelters, law enforcement. Next, power is restored to the largest number of customers. The last to be restored are individual services or services that need to be reconnected after repair to their home electrical system.
LCEC does not disconnect power before a storm. The utility lets Mother Nature run her course, and begins to restore power to impacted areas once winds are at a safe level.
How customers should prepare for outages
• Ensure that you have a back-up telephone if you use a cordless or other telephone that is dependent on electricity.
• Have a battery-powered radio on hand and a supply of fresh batteries to stay aware of news and other information.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy.
What to do when the lights go out
• Help keep LCEC’s telephone lines clear for emergency calls. Only call LCEC at 656-2300 to report downed power lines.
• Visually check your weather-head (on the roof where your service drop connects to the pole) and your meter box to make sure it is not damaged.
• Any damage to your home’s electric system must be repaired by a licensed electrician and inspected by a designated agency before power to your home can be restored.
• Turn off your appliances. This will protect them when service is restored, prevent electrical fires and lessen the chances of circuit overload when service is restored. You may leave one light on to serve as a visual signal that power has been restored.
Storm Safety Tips
• Stay clear of downed power lines. They may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
• Don’t trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines. If you must remove debris from your home, don’t pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
• Residents on life support need to have an alternate plan in place to ensure the continuity of any life-support needs. This may include making special arrangements to spend time with a friend or relative during an outage or using a back-up generator.
• If operating a portable generator, keep it outside and in an open area. Carbon monoxide emissions can be harmful. Follow all instructions regarding safe operation. Do not connect the generator directly to your main electrical panel. If installed incorrectly, power could flow into outside lines and injure you, your neighbors or utility crews working in the area.
• Avoid detaining LCEC employees or contractors while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting, can cause an accident and impedes the process.
At LCEC, our values go far beyond a page on our website or a poster in our building. They are our guiding principles and the framework by which LCEC has grown over the past 77 years. Just recently, two LCEC employees demonstrated our core value to energize the community by taking an active role to make SWFL an even better place to work and live.
Installation Services Technician Bill was at a local 7-11 recently when he encountered a mother and her daughter frantically searching for the famously infamous fidget spinners. When Bill heard that 7-11 was sold out, he ran to his work van to grab a brand new fidget spinner which he had bought for one of his four kids. After asking the mom if it was okay to give the daughter the fidget spinner, the mother and daughter were thrilled and gladly accepted the offer. “We have not transitioned well to moving here from Tallahassee. Bill showed my daughter that there are still kind, good people left,” said the thankful mother. Bill thought nothing of this gesture, but this small act of kindness is something this mother and daughter won’t soon forget.
Lineman Kenny needed access to a property so he called owner to let him in the gate. The home owner had left to bring her son to school not realizing that the child had dropped his $20 in lunch money. Kenny saw the $20 by the gate and when he finished his work, left the money in the screen entry to the house. The homeowner got home and quickly called LCEC to say how much she appreciated Kenny’s integrity and work ethics!
These are just two recent examples of LCEC employees energizing the community. We are so incredibly proud of the amazing work that Bill, Kenny and the rest of our 375+ employees do in and outside of work to respect and better this community! From volunteering to doing the right thing, our employees are LCEC’s most valuable resource!
Just like our tagline states, LCEC is People. Power. Possibilities. Of the many possibilities we provide, we are especially proud of the endless amount of things that customers are able to do on lcec.net. Below is just a few of the things made possible on our website:
• Start/Stop/Disconnect/Transfer Service
• Report an outage
• Report energy theft
• Request tree trimming
• Learn how to read a bill and your electric meter
• Sign up for LCEC energy tools
• Request a free energy survey
• Become an energy expert by reading through energy tips
• View our outage map
• Learn about our history, board of directors, mission, vision, and more!
• View and read LCEC newsletters and bill inserts
• Contact us
Our hope is for customers to feel empowered by all that they can learn and do on lcec.net. For further assistance, call us at 239-656-2300! We are always here and happy to help!
Summer doesn’t technically start until the end of June, but it is already hot, hot, hot in sunny SWFL! As tempting as it is to crank down the air conditioner, LCEC reminds you to keep your thermostat at 83 degrees when you are away from your home for more than two hours and 78 degrees while you are home. Each degree below the recommended temperature of 78 degrees adds eight percent to cooling costs.
Southwest Florida’s steamy subtropical summers (and the many hot months outside of summer) cause the nation’s highest average annual air conditioning use. In fact, air conditioning accounts for approximately half of most average monthly utility bills! So what is the best way to combat this? Here are some additional tips for keeping you, your family, and your LCEC bill cool during this toasty time of year:
• Install a programmable thermostat to automatically raise and lower the temperature in your home at certain times of the day.
• Have your air conditioner serviced annually along with switching out air filters on a routine basis.
• Use a ceiling fan, but remember to switch it off when you leave the room. Ceiling fans are meant to cool your skin…not an entire room.
For more energy saving tips, visit www.lcec.net.
During the month of May, LCEC joins the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to help raise awareness about potential home electrical hazards and the importance of electrical safety. Although May is National Electrical Safety Month, it is important to be mindful every day when working with or around all things electrical. Below are some tips to help protect you from injury or death from electrical-related home fires and accidents:
• Keep ladders, kites, booms, pool skimmers, and antennas away from overhead power lines.
• Never touch or attempt to move a downed power line.
• Before you dig, call 811 to have utility lines marked. Remember that power lines are underground as well as overhead.
• Never attempt a project that is beyond your skill level. That’s what professionals are for!
• Always turn off power to a circuit that you plan to work on. You can do this at the circuit breaker in the main service panel.
• Always unplug appliances before attempting to work on them.
• Invest in safety items such as gloves, goggles, and hearing protection that is appropriate to the work or electrical tool that you will be using.
In celebration of National Electrical Safety Month 2017, ESFI has launched the fourth installment of its National Electrical Safety Month publication, Electrical Safety Illustrated. This year’s theme of “Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution,” informs readers on the changes made in the 2017 National Electrical Code.
For more information on National Electrical Safety Month, visit http://www.esfi.org/program/national-electrical-safety-month-314. For more tips on electrical safety, visit www.lcec.net or contact LCEC at 239-656-2300.
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