Storm team of more than 600 working to safely return service to area impacted by tornado
Gulfport, Miss. – Mississippi Power restoration efforts continue today following a destructive tornado in the Hattiesburg and Petal areas, within the Pine Belt region, early Saturday morning.
Service was restored to nearly 7,500 Mississippi Power customers on Saturday, about 70 percent of the peak outage of 11,000 immediately after the storm.
About 3,500 remain without service, but the majority of customers who can receive power will be fully restored by midnight, the company estimates. Those customers where damage was most extensive in the William Carey College area of Hattiesburg can expect electric service by midnight on Monday.
“The safety of our team and our customers impacted by this storm is our number one priority during the restoration effort,” said Mississippi Power Chairman, President and CEO Anthony Wilson said. “Hundreds of storm team members are concentrated in south Hattiesburg and Petal, working with one goal in mind – to get the lights back on.”
The company saw nearly 30 of its transmission structures in the Pine Belt region damaged in the storm. Additionally, more than 200 utility poles and other electric equipment must be repaired. Nearly 50 utility poles were replaced on Saturday and electric equipment installed.
“We have a storm-tested restoration team on the ground and powering through Sunday’s adverse weather conditions,” said Mississippi Power Vice President of Customer Services Organization Nicole Faulk. “We’ve requested additional assistance from crews in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas and north Mississippi, bringing the number of linemen, engineers and support personnel in the field to more than 600. Every member of our storm team is committed to this effort.”
As part of the restoration process, Mississippi Power starts work at our power plants and on transmission lines that serve our communities. Next, focus is turned to the main distribution lines, along with restoring power to essential services such as hospitals, water and sewer plants and fire and police stations. Next, we repair damage that will return power to the greatest number of customers in the least amount of time. Mississippi Power is monitoring today’s weather as heavy winds and rain are forecast in the areas most heavily damaged from Saturday’s tornado. The company asks residents to avoid approaching crews to allow them to concentrate on safely restoring service to those impacted by the storm.
Mississippi Power customers can monitor the status of an outage from their smart phone, tablet or computer by visiting the company’s online outage map.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power earned the 2015 ReliabilityOneTM Award for outstanding midsize utility for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts as well as being a leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.