LCEC – Lee County Electric Cooperative


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LCEC ready for Irma

LCEC ready for Irma

LCEC has been spending the week gearing up for a potential impact. The wheels are put in motion well in advance of a certain threat in order to appropriate line crews, materials, tree-trimmers, fuel, and support services and supplies. “I am proud of all the preliminary actions that employees are taking to ensure we are ready to respond if Irma impacts our service territory,” said LCEC Chief Executive Officer Dennie Hamilton.

 

Early preparation will pay off for LCEC since customers are located in Collier, Broward, Hendry, Lee, and Charlotte Counties and all will most likely be impacted.

 

LCEC prepares for hurricanes year-round through routine maintenance, vegetation management, and keeping up with the latest technology. Each employee is part of the restoration plan. They begin reviewing the plan in early May, conduct exercises, and update processes with the hopes that they won’t need the plan but confident that if they do, they will be ready.

  • System operators continue to monitor Irma’s track and provide updates to planners.
  • Out-of-town linemen are on the way from Texas, Alabama, and possibly Georgia.
  • Tree-trimming crews are already in the area and conducting last minute trimming.
  • Extra materials were ordered and are onsite and ready to be staged at impacted areas.
  • Vehicles are fueled and ready to go as soon as it is safe to work.
  • Lodging has been secured so that crews can get a few hours of rest between service calls.
  • Meals for nearly 1,000 restoration team members are planned.

Restoration Priorities

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 take its 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 while they are working to restore power. This can be distracting and cause an accident.

 

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