Thursday, May 12, 2005

Progress Energy Florida Prepared for 2005 Hurricane Season

Source: PR Newswire via Yahoo! News

WINTER GARDEN, Fla., May 12 -- Progress Energy Florida today completed preparations for the 2005 hurricane season by conducting its annual storm drill.

"Our response to last year's hurricane season set the bar very high, but we are ready for whatever comes our way," said David McDonald, Progress Energy Florida's system storm coordinator. "Four hurricanes in six weeks taught us valuable lessons that we have made part of our planning for this year. By learning from past performance, we can improve our storm response and restore power as soon as possible after severe weather."

The drill was conducted at the company's new storm center facility in Winter Garden. Hurricane season begins June 1.

After a thorough review of last year's response, numerous enhancements have been incorporated into the company's comprehensive storm plan. They include:


- Relocation of the storm center from Lake Mary to the company's
hurricane-hardened Winter Garden Training Center, which offers more
space and phone capacity
- Increased pre-season communication with customers regarding tree-
trimming and debris removal
- Enhanced training for Progress Energy employees who will support local
emergency operations centers
- Improved identification of special-needs customers for prioritization
purposes
- Use of improved technology and software to provide more accurate and
timely restoration updates to customers
- More effective lodging options for out-of-town crews and contractors

"Our customers have told us they want timely and accurate power restoration times" said Willette Morman-Perry, Progress Energy Florida's director of customer service. "Customers who lose power should call the 24- hour automated outage line at 800-228-8485. This service provides the same information available from our customer service associates and is the fastest way to report a power outage. It even offers an option to call you back should new information become available on when your power will be restored."

This state-of-the-art technology helped Progress Energy answer more than 2.1 million phone calls last year during hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. It is also capable of taking more than 125,000 calls per hour during widespread outages.

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