Although Hurricane Michael hit our area months ago, your co-op is still in recovery mode. We realize our members continue experiencing power outages - possibly more than usual. We'd like to ask our members to continue being patient as cooperative crews find and address some of the issues caused by Hurricane Michael that are still impacting our electric distribution system and causing outages.
When cooperative representatives said the system was "rebuilt" after Hurricane Michael, we meant that we "repaired and replaced poles, lines and equipment" as quickly as possible to restore power to every member who could safely receive electricity. That means that our line crews are still going to find things that need repairing as time goes by. This is a process that is ongoing and will be for quite some time to come. Repairs are still being made daily to bring our system back to its pre-hurricane status. WFEC linemen repair and maintain around 4,800 miles of line in four counties and that doesn't include the new services being built every day. That is a lot of power line to patrol and trouble-shoot and it takes time to find every issue left behind by the storm.
As always, the major cause of any outage on our distribution system is usually weather-related. Lately our area has been experiencing thunderstorms with high winds and lightning quite often. This is our typical weather pattern for spring and summer - it's nothing unusual.
Lightning can hit equipment in the substation, on lines or poles and cause a lot of damage. Winds can also cause a lot of problems.
One of the major issues right now is that high winds are blowing leaning trees and trees that are resting on other trees onto power lines. The wind is also loosening branches that were broken or damaged by the hurricane and causing them to fall now, months later.
Unfortunately, weather-related outages will continue happening. There is simply no way to prevent it. When those power outages do occur, our linemen are ready to answer the call and get to work making repairs as quickly but safely as possible. Please keep in mind that when poles are broken and power lines are torn down - whether by trees or car accidents - replacing them can take hours. 68585003
Right now, another major cause of outages are debris trucks and heavy equipment. Many of the outages occurring during business hours are being caused by these large trucks and equipment as they collect debris and continue cleanup throughout Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson and Washington Counties. 13327001
We try to keep our members updated when there are outages that impact approximately 500 members or more by utilizing our Facebook page. Please keep in mind that our social media pages are not monitored 24/7 so you may not receive an immediate response. Since social media is not monitored 24/7, it is not the appropriate place to report outages or safety concerns. The reasoning behind this request is primarily for the personal safety of members - it's never a good idea to post or send private information via social media where it could be compromised. WFEC made an exception to this rule during power restoration efforts after Hurricane Michael since this was the only way we could communicate effectively with members and accept outage reports. However, now that all means to report outages are operational, it is important to utilize them.
It is always best to call the co-op or use the outage texting service to report outages. To call and report an outage, dial 844-OUTAGE1 or 884-688-2431. To text an outage report, text OUT to 800-342-7400 and follow the prompts. You can also report outages online using the website (www.westflorida.coop) or on the mobile app for Apple or Android devices.