CEO’s Message – July 2018

Ready for the Storm

CEO Michael S. McWaters
Michael S. McWaters
Executive V.P./CEO

In Florida, we’re no strangers to stormy weather. Most of the time, we enjoy the sunshine our state is

known for — but each year, we must pause and make sure we are ready for hurricane season.

As any Floridian knows, smart preparation is the key to staying safe during severe weather. That’s why I want to take a moment to let our members know what SVEC has been doing to both prevent outages and shorten the ones we do experience.

Over the last year, Suwannee Valley Electric has inspected hundreds of poles to ensure their structural integrity, and has trimmed trees along over 1,000 miles of electric lines to prevent outages caused by falling limbs.

We have also begun to install and activate an Advanced Distribution Management System, which allows us to respond to some larger outages without needing to send a crew, and have maintained our Advanced Meter Infrastructure which helps us determine where the cause of an outage is located.

When repair crews are required, an automated vehicle location system helps us coordinate their activities, and we have constructed an on-site fuel station that will ensure crews can respond to issues throughout the cooperative’s 2,000-square-mile service area without relying on the availability of fuel at our area’s gas stations.

All of this effort makes our system more storm-resistant than it has ever been, but it can never be storm-proof. Persistent winds and rain are bound to cause outages, which is why we regularly review and update our Emergency Response Plan so everyone knows their role in getting the lights back on.

As always, we appreciate our members’ patience as SVEC crews make repairs. When storms hit, we send line crews and other critical staff into the field as soon as they can safely begin to assess and repair the damage. Our first priority will always be restoring power to as many members as possible in the shortest amount of time.