Damage and Restoration Efforts at Unprecedented Scale

The extent of the damage done to SVEC’s electric distribution system is becoming clearer as repair crews make their way through the cooperative’s 2,100 square mile service territory. So far, about 2,500 instances of damaged lines and equipment have been documented, including 411 broken poles.

Service was restored yesterday to about 10% of the consumers who are supplied through substations that have transmission service. That includes both substations fed though transmission lines operated by Florida Power & Light and 3 of the 11 substations fed through transmission lines operated by Duke Energy Florida. SVEC and Duke Management are speaking by phone every day and it is hoped to have an estimated time of transmission restoration soon.

Meanwhile, help keeps pouring in. 591 lineworkers are already working out of our base camp in Live Oak or will arrive later today to bring the total workforce to 756. That number is likely to grow even more tomorrow as workers are freed up from jobs with other utilities who suffered less damage.

“The damage done to SVEC’s system is unprecedented and so is the scale of our response.” says SVEC CEO Mike McWaters. “Nevertheless, it’s still impossible to predict when power will be restored to specific areas, and we strongly urge those who depend on electricity for medical equipment to continue with alternate arrangements for power supply or relocate until further notice. “We know this is probably not the news our members are hoping for," says McWaters, “but it’s important for their health and safety that we are as transparent as possible. We continue to ask for the patience and understanding of our members and thank them and the rest of Florida’s Big Bend community for the outpouring of support for our employees and aiding workers.”

Members are reminded to stay well away from downed power lines and not attempt to remove trees or limbs that are in contact with them.