O&M

UPDATE: Utilities prepare for Tropical Storm Isaac

Electric utilities that have power plants and transmission lines in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac are making preparations to deal with the storm. Isaac is projected to make landfall in Florida, as a hurricane, either sometimes over the weekend or at the beginning of next week.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), said it has a detailed storm plan in place and has begun preliminary preparations to ensure quick power restoration if the storm affects the company’s service territory. The plan, according to the utility, enables the company to mobilize equipment, vehicles and thousands of employees and supplemental contractors who train outside their normal jobs for storm-specific duties in support of restoration efforts.

“We prepare for every scenario,” said Jason Cutliffe, storm director for Progress Energy Florida. “We’re prepared to respond in the event that Isaac or any other storm damages the electric system.”

All eyes are on Tampa, Fla., this weekend as Republican National Convention attendees begin arriving in Tampa for next week’s convention. Tampa is directly in the projected path of Isaac, and Tampa Electric said it is ready to respond if the storm affects its territory. Out-of-state utility workers are traveling to Tampa to supplement Tampa Electric’s crews, the company said.

In preparation for restoration of electric service, Tampa Electric has requested the assistance of 193 workers from Dominion (NYSE: D), Pepco and Team Fishel, from Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and Arkansas.

Tampa Electric said it invests more than $40 million annually in a 10-point plan to harden the electric system against severe weather, which includes infrastructure replacement, tree trimming and pole inspections.

Philadelphia-based PECO, an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corp., is responding to a call for assistance from Florida Power and Light by sending nearly 50 employees to Daytona Beach, Fla., to support the potential effort necessary to restore power.

“Through our experience with Hurricane Irene just one year ago, we know firsthand how crucial assistance from other utilities can be in safely restoring service to customers as quickly as possible when a severe storm hits,” said Ron Bradley, emergency response director.

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) also said it is monitoring the development of Isaac and will be prepared to implement storm procedures is the storm approaches the Entergy service territory.

Gulf Power, subsidiary of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO), is also making preparations.

“We are keeping an eye on the track of Isaac,” said Natalie Smith, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Our crews have extensive experience in hurricane restoration and we will work as fast and as safely as possible.”

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