OUC History Book

Page 58

Three Hurricanes in One Season: “A Year’s Worth of Work in 45 Days” In 45 days during Florida’s most active

poles over houses. Over the course of the three

hurricane season on record — the summer of

storms, OUC spent about $31 million to repair

2004 — Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne

damage. Though the hurricanes impacted OUC

hit Orlando, devastating Central Florida’s tree

financially, reimbursement for the bulk of

canopy and sending thousands of trees crashing

hurricane-related costs came from the Federal

into homes and miles of power lines. Charley

Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and

knocked out power to 80 percent of OUC’s

the State of Florida. None of these costs was

customers; Frances, 40 percent; and Jeanne,

passed on to customers.

59 percent.

In all, OUC replaced 570 poles and 453

OUC linemen served on the front lines of

transformers, 26.6 miles of primary line and

restoration efforts, routinely working 16-hour

44.2 miles of secondary line. Only two boil water

days in dangerous conditions. With that effort,

alerts were issued — and more than 2,000

power was safely restored to OUC’s affected

linemen, tree trimmers and trouble technicians

customers at a faster rate than the neighboring

were called in to assist with restoration.

utilities. After Hurricane Charley, crews had to

Customer service representatives fielded more

replace rear-lot line poles that had been

than 160,000 calls, a 50 percent increase from

knocked over in customers’ backyards. In some

normal activity.

cases, cranes were used to lift replacement

Mutual Aid: Returning the Favor OUC was happy to return the favor for several

power to customers who had been out since

utilities that sent crews to restore power in

Frances swept through on September 4, 2004.

Orlando and St. Cloud after Charley devastated

OUC also sent linemen to the City of Opp,

the area. After completing its own power

Alabama (near the Florida-Alabama border)

restoration following Hurricane Frances and

to help the restoration effort in the wake of

making sure that Hurricane Ivan was going to

Hurricane Ivan. In September 2005, OUC electric

bypass Central Florida, OUC released crews

and water crews went to Gulfport, Mississippi, to

to Fort Pierce Utilities Authority to help restore

help communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

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Used with permission of the Orlando Sentinel, copyright 2011