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Alabama Power ready for peak storm season

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StormOffers storm tips for customers

After a calm first half to the summer severe weather season, Alabama Power employees remain ready to quickly and safely restore service as peak hurricane season approaches.
While the company has responded mainly to scattered weather events since derecho wind damage in March, employees remain alert and prepared to respond to summer and fall severe weather conditions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continues to project above-normal activity and says there is a possibility the peak season could become very active, with four named storms already produced this year.
“While our crews have not had to mobilize a large-scale recovery effort so far this summer, we continue to monitor weather events every day and talk regularly with suppliers and outside support to make sure we can respond at a moment’s notice,” said Danny Glover, Alabama Power vice president of Distribution.
To prepare for this year’s hurricane season, Alabama Power employees in Mobile and across the state reviewed storm plans and logistics to help the company better respond to severe weather.
In 2012, Alabama Power received the Edison Electric Institute’s Emergency Assistance Award for restoring power after derecho windstorms hit the Midwest and Middle Atlantic regions in June and after Hurricane Sandy walloped the East Coast in October. The company also hosted storm recovery experts from nearly 30 utilities this February to discuss best practices for power restoration.
Lessons learned from those efforts, and the company’s extensive recovery efforts following the deadly storms across the state in April 2011, provided on-the-ground restoration experience for employees heading into this year’s season.

Other 2013 preparations include:

*       Reviewing the company storm plan and making appropriate adjustments in emergency storm assignments, staging area locations, logistics and communications equipment designed to improve response capabilities.
*       Expanding the number of employees available from other departments who can play a variety of supporting roles in storm recovery operations.
*       Increasing storm season material inventory, including pre-packaged kits ready for storm restoration. The kits contain material typically needed by crews that are making storm-related repairs. The company works with suppliers to
ensure they are ready to quickly provide materials and supplies during storm recovery operations.
*       Conducting frequent discussions with utility companies participating in the region’s mutual assistance program. Under the program, investor-owned utilities pledge to provide crews to assist Alabama Power when a major storm
strikes, depending on their availability, and Alabama Power pledges to assist others when they need help.
Alabama Power also recently upgraded its Storm Center website to provide weather-related tips and help customers better report outages.
To learn more about how Alabama Power responds to storms, and how you can prepare for the hurricane season, log on to www.alabamapower.com Click on “About Us” and then “Storm Center.”

Alabama Power employees take severe weather seriously, and customers should, too. Here’s what you can do to be better prepared for summer storms and their potential aftermath:

Before the storm

1.      Charge cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices.
2.      Have several flashlights with extra batteries on hand, as well as a first-aid kit.
3.      Keep a three-day minimum supply of water – one gallon per person per day, plus three days’ supply of food and drink that does not have to be refrigerated.
4.      Use a battery-operated weather radio or cell phone weather app to stay informed.
5.      Turn down the thermostat to cool your house. If you keep doors and windows closed after the storm, you can keep your house relatively cool for about 48 hours.
6.      Seek shelter inside a sturdy building. In the event of a tornado, the safest place is on the lowest level. Choose a small room with no windows, such as an interior closet, hallway or bathroom.

After the storm

1.      If power is out, call Alabama Power’s automated reporting system at 1-800-888-APCO (2726). It is the fastest way to report an outage or a hazardous situation, such as a downed power line.
2.      Turn off appliances to avoid any potential safety hazards when power is restored.
3.      Stay away from downed lines. Do not drive over lines or under low-hanging lines. Keep children and pets away from downed lines. Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or anything else caught in power lines. Call Alabama Power at
1-800-888-APCO (2726) or contact a local law enforcement agency if downed lines are spotted.
4.      Stay clear of areas with fallen trees or debris where downed lines may be hidden. Stay away from areas where repair crews are working.

GENERATOR SAFETY TIPS

More and more people are purchasing portable generators to keep appliances running during outages. While generators can be a convenience, they can also be deadly when used improperly.

1.      Read and follow carefully the manufacturer’s instructions before using a generator.
2.      Do not plug in portable generators to your household wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and to Alabama Power employees working on the lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances – such as freezers
and refrigerators – directly to the generator.
3.      To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area that is away from air intakes to the home, including window air conditioners. Never use a portable generator indoors or in attached garages.

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