Storm Ready. 3 Gulf Power Ready for the storm. 4 Be prepared, be safe. 5 Getting the lights back on. 6 Damage to your home s service connection

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1 Storm Ready Prep and Safety Power Restoration Your Service Connection Generator Safety Power Outage Map Stay Connected with Gulf Power

2 Storm Ready 3 Gulf Power Ready for the storm 4 Be prepared, be safe Getting the lights back on pg. 5 5 Getting the lights back on 6 Damage to your home s service connection 7 Generator safety Generator safety pg. 7 8 Power Outage Map 9 Staying connected with Gulf Power 10 Frequently asked questions Power Outage Map pg Gulf Power checklist On the cover, Gulf Power lineman Charlie Box has served customers for 23 years.

3 Gulf Power Ready for the storm Gulf Power Company s nationally recognized storm response team plans and prepares throughout the year for storm season. When a tropical storm or hurricane threatens Northwest Florida, our first concern is safety for you and our employees followed by quickly and safely restoring power. We begin to monitor storms as they enter the Gulf of Mexico, and we activate our storm center when it appears our area will be impacted. Built to withstand winds from a Category 5 hurricane, Gulf Power s Storm Center will serve as a hub to better manage major storms and keep the utility s workforce highly trained. When a hurricane or major storm threatens Northwest Florida, team leaders from every area of the company gather at the Storm Center to coordinate restoration plans. The 30,300-square-foot building is built to withstand 200-mph winds, and has a 700-kilowatt generator that can power the building for 7 10 days so that Gulf Power employees can focus on coordinating the actions of the company s 1,400 employees and hundreds of workers from other assisting utilities. As soon as the storm passes, we begin a comprehensive damage assessment of the electrical system. Workers who are staged throughout the region are then efficiently deployed in advance, depending on where the storm hits, and are ready to quickly and safely begin restoring electricity. But the key to surviving storms is preparation. Please use this booklet to make your own preparations, so that you ll be ready when the next storm strikes.before a Stay safe, Wendell Smith Vice President Power Delivery Gulf Power 3

4 Before a storm Local emergency management urges residents to prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three to 14 days. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a long-term power outage: Charge your cell phone and other items before the storm. Download the Gulf Power outage app to your mobile device (see page 9). Turn your air conditioner down to cool your home. If you keep the doors and windows closed after the storm, you can keep your house relatively cool for about 48 hours after the storm. Keep freezer doors closed and sealed. Well-filled freezers will keep most foods frozen for two to three days. Prepare key phone numbers, account numbers and personal information, and keep several laminated copies in secure locations. Include your Gulf Power account number and our phone number, GUPOWER ( ). During and after a storm Be prepared, be safe Gulf Power cares about our employees and insist they stay safe, so we suspend work in the field during a storm until conditions improve. We care about you as well and ask you to heed the same advice stay out of harm s way during a storm. 4 A few things to be mindful of Stay away from downed power lines, flooding and debris. Don t walk in standing water and don t venture out in the dark because you might not see a downed power line that is energized and dangerous. If a power line is damaged and is making contact with the earth, the minimum approach distance is 30 feet for distribution voltage (as much as 50,000 volts) and 100 feet for transmission voltage (greater than 50,000 up to 230,000 volts). Transmission towers are the taller structures either wooden, steel or concrete. Right after a storm, we ll know if large power lines have been damaged and if you re without power. Please help keep the phone lines open by calling Gulf Power only if you need to report an emergency, such as a downed power line or electrical equipment that is sparking and dangerous. You can check the status of your outage by using our Power Out app for smartphones or tablets. If you lose power, please turn off your air conditioning system and other large appliances. Wait 15 to 30 minutes after power has been restored before turning your air conditioning system back on. This will help Gulf Power manage the electrical load as we work to get as many customers back on as quickly as possible. Before you call to report an outage, check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your service outage might be the result of a household problem. Also check your meter box and the pipe that leads to it; if it is damaged, you must get a licensed electrician to make those repairs, and a city or county work inspection permit. If you are still without power after your neighborhood s power is restored, please call GUPOWER ( ).

5 Getting the lights back on Gulf Power maintains more than 9,000 miles of power lines and more than 135 substations. Add three power plants and it s an enormous task to keep the system operating. After a storm, all those miles of power line and equipment along a path between your home or business and the generating plant must be up and working before power can be delivered to a specific address. Gulf Power employees are staged throughout Northwest Florida so that they can begin assessing damage everywhere and restoring power as quickly and safely as possible. If you see a Gulf Power crew, please allow them to do their job. Although our crews are always appreciative of our customers generosity, they are provided with plenty of food and water during storm restoration efforts. The more time they are allowed to work, the faster the power can be restored to your community. Here s how power restoration works 1. The power plants must be operating and the large transmission lines going out from the plant must be repaired. Power Plant Transmission 2. Next, the substations and the main feeder lines must be working before power can be restored to customers. Priority is given to essential services such as hospitals, water and sewer plants, and fire and police stations. Transmission Lines Substation Distribution Lines Critical Services 3. Crews then focus on restoring power to the largest number of customers in the least amount of time before they begin working to repair individual power lines serving homes and businesses. If there is damage to your meter box, power cannot be turned on until repairs are inspected (see page 6). Distribution Lines Homes and Businesses 5

6 Damage to your home s service connection Steps to restore power if your home s service connection is damaged 1. Know what you need to repair. Damage repair responsibility ABOVE-GROUND SERVICE HOMEOWNER HOMEOWNER GULF POWER HOMEOWNER GULF POWER HOMEOWNER 2. Seek a licensed electrician. 3. Do not attempt to fix the damage yourself. HOMEOWNER UNDERGROUND SERVICE GULF POWER 4. Make sure repairs pass required county inspections. 5. Notify Gulf Power at when you are able to receive power. HOMEOWNER RESPONSIBILITY GULF POWER 6

7 Generator safety Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow these safety tips to protect against shock and electrocution when using a portable generator NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet or a breaker panel, a practice known as backfeeding. This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices. NEVER use a generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide quickly. When you use a portable generator, remember that you cannot smell or see carbon monoxide, so even if you can t smell exhaust fumes, you will still be exposed. If you own a generator, you also should purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Keep the generator dry and do not use in wet conditions. To protect from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure. Don t touch a generator with wet hands. Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs. If you must connect the generator to the house wiring to power appliances, have a licensed electrician install the appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical codes. For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded. This may result in overheating or stressing the generator, possibly leading to generator failure. For more information on generator safety, visit MyGulfPower.com/generatorsafety. 7

8 Power Outage Map It doesn t happen often, but if you lose power, timely information can be valuable. That s why Gulf Power created an online map to help customers when their power is out. You can get real-time information on your computer, smartphone or tablet by going to MyGulfPower.com/outagemap. This interactive map gives you a quick view of the Northwest Florida area with the ability to zoom in on the area where you live. Small triangles show where the power is out. If you hover over them with your cursor, a pop-up window provides more information, such as the estimated time of when the power will be restored. The pop-up window also tells you how many customers are affected and whether a Gulf Power crew is on the way, or already on location making repairs. Customers can see outages on the map, and also can report a power outage or check on the status of an outage through the map. A reliability indicator on the map shows the current reliability percentage for the Gulf Power system in real-time. Typically the percentage is percent. Click on the red bar across the top of the map for important updates about power restoration. Click here for storm update System Reliability: 99.9% Click here for storm update 8

9 Staying connected with Gulf Power Power Out app To stay connected with Gulf Power before, during and after a storm, Gulf Power offers a free Power Out app. The app can be found by searching for Gulf Power in itunes or the Google Play store. Our app lets you access our Power Outage Map and report or check on the status of an outage. You can also access the utility s social media sites and mobile site, MyGulfPower.com. Sign up for Power Out alerts There s always one question about power outages: how long? And now, with Gulf Power s new Power Out alert system, you ll be able to get those answers. You can sign up for free to receive texts, s or telephone calls regarding outages at a home or business. You can register on your cell phone by texting REG to MyGulf (694853). The system will text back to confirm the registration. You can also use the Preference Center in the My Account area of MyGulfPower.com, where you can choose whether to receive texts, s or phone calls. Once you log into your account, you will see a link on the left-hand side of the page for Set Outage Alerts. Join the conversation Make sure to like Gulf Power on Facebook and follow us on Twitter before a major storm hits. You ll find regular updates about what Gulf Power is doing as a storm approaches, and details about our restoration efforts after a storm has passed. You ll also be able to interact with Gulf Power representatives and interact with other Gulf Power customers about what they re experiencing. Like Gulf Power Company on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Calling after a major storm Our computer-operated system detects most widespread power outages, but if you want to report a power outage, call GUPOWER ( ). Each call is automatically logged into the system, so you only need to call once. We only ask that you please do not call during the storm. We will begin restoration work as soon as it is safe. 9

10 Frequently asked questions Should I stop crews in bucket trucks to let them know my power is out? No. Stopping Gulf Power line crews to ask questions or make special requests only slows restoration. If power has been restored to your entire neighborhood, and you are without power, check your meter box for damage, or call Gulf Power at Should I call Gulf Power every day that my power is out to make sure they know I don t have electricity? No. Following a severe storm with widespread power interruptions, customers should wait 24 to 48 hours before calling to report an outage. Our automated system alerts technicians when outages occur. Gulf Power will announce through the media if residents in specific areas should call in if they re still without power. Customers can also view our Power Outage Map at MyGulfPower.com/outagemap for timely information and restoration updates. If my home has structural damage, can Gulf Power turn power back on before repairs are made? No. Each county has guidelines that the company must follow in connecting service. The first consideration for both the county and Gulf Power is protecting the homeowner s safety. As a general rule, a licensed contractor must make repairs and an inspection permit must be issued by the county before Gulf Power can restore electricity to a damaged structure. Will my account with Gulf Power be credited for the time I was without power? Gulf Power customers are only charged for electricity they use. If your power is out, you will not be charged for it. Why can t all power lines go underground to keep power from going out? Customers choose whether or not power lines are underground. Because underground power lines are much more costly up to 10 times more expensive customers have to pay extra for the installation as required by the state of Florida. Going underground is reliable, but outages can still occur and can take much longer to locate and repair. 10

11 Gulf Power is storm ready are you? Checklist Set up your free online Gulf Power account on MyGulfPower.com. Download the Power Out app on your tablet or smartphone. Search for Gulf Power in itunes or the Google Play store. Sign up for free Power Out alerts through your cell phone by texting REG to MyGulf (694853). Or, visit the Preference Center in the My Account area of MyGulfPower.com to choose whether to receive texts, s or phone calls. Like Gulf Power on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to view updates about storm restoration and other news and tips from the utility. Visit MyGulfPower.com to read more about electrical safety and storm safety and preparation. 11

12 Stay connected to Gulf Power with our Power Out app available for your smartphone or tablet. It s the best app we hope you never need. MyGulfPower.com Search for Gulf Power.

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