Peace River Electric Cooperative Takes a Direct Hit from Ian

Posted: September 29, 2022 at 10:03 am

Peace River Electric Cooperative (PRECO) took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian late Wednesday, resulting in extensive damage to the electric system and leaving thousands of the co-op’s consumer-members without power.

As of Thursday morning, 88% of PRECO consumers are without power due to fallen wires, damaged poles, and severe flooding.

“Much of what took us 82 years to build took Ian less than 24 hours to destroy,” said Van Crawford, PRECO v.p. of operations. “With catastrophic winds and significant flooding, Hurricane Ian is one of the worst storms to hit this area of Florida. The recovery and rebuilding effort will be a lengthy and complicated process.

“PRECO is currently conducting damage assessments, a key first step to developing a roadmap to get the lights back on as quickly as possible. I thank our consumer-members for their notes of support and ask for their continued prayers and patience in the coming days.”

The damage assessment process allows PRECO to strategically target power restoration efforts. Restoration crews are mobilizing now. Once preliminary damage assessments are completed and it is safe to dispatch work crews, PRECO will work tirelessly to restore power as quickly as possible.

More than 500 out-of-state lineworkers and contractors will join PRECO’s power restoration effort. Additional workers will be called in if necessary.

PRECO urges consumer-members to stay safe in the wake of the storm, as conditions remain hazardous in many areas. Consumers are encouraged to follow the following safety tips:

  • Stay away from downed wires. Always assume they are energized.
  • Avoid flooded areas. Long-term flooding along rivers and streams can persist for days following a storm. When approaching water on a roadway, remember: Don’t Drown. Turn Around.
  • Avoid crews working in the street. This will keep you and the crews safe and allow them to work on restoring your power.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use only when necessary.
  • To avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, place portable generators outside in a well-ventilated area, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors and windows. Never run a generator inside, not even in your garage. Do not connect the generator directly into your home’s main fuse box, wiring or circuit panel.
  • Protect food and refrigerated medicine with ice in an insulated cooler. Foods will stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer if the door remains closed, and a half-full freezer will generally keep frozen foods for up to 24 hours. Check to learn more about when to throw out or keep food after a power outage.
  • Tune in to local news broadcasts for the latest weather and emergency information.