LCEC Ready for Irma
Special to the Lehigh Acres Gazette
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.
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.