LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- On August 13th, 2004, Hurricane Charley tore through southwest Florida leaving people without power for days, even weeks. WINK News is asking what's changed in the last decade that will restore our power faster during severe weather?
According to Lee County Electric Cooperative, called LCEC, some of the big changes that will help during big storms have to do with keeping vegetation away from the power poles, along with new technology to restore your power quicker if it gets knocked out.
LCEC also has a portable transformer that can light up a neighborhood. "If we were to lose something in one of our sub-stations, we can actually move this to the locations," explained LCEC spokeswoman Karen Ryan.
It's one solution from LCEC to turn your power back on after a massive storm.
The company serves thousands people across southwest Florida. Ryan remembers what it was like when Hurricane Charley swept through 10 years ago.
"Almost all customers were without power after Charley passed," she said.
A lot has changed since then, she says, and lessons learned. One of the biggest upgrades is new technology that's creating a quicker response than ten years ago.
"We have automated meters so that will show us where power is out. We have computers in the trucks, so we know what equipment is needed before our crews get to the site," said Ryan.
Ten years after Charley, Florida Power and Light is also turning to advanced technology to rush response times, including iPads for every technician, and a better system to map outages in each neighborhood.
"There are a lot of new devices that we are sticking on our lines called Smart Grid technology that did not exist 10 years ago," said Bryan Olnick, FPL's Vice President of Distribution Operations.
As for LCEC, WINK News is learning it's also extra vigilant about trimming back trees and brush, items that can do serious damage in hurricane force winds.
Some of LCEC's new technology even allows workers to remotely turn your power back on without ever needing to send a crew out to a scene.
"With technology, a lot of devices in the field are automated, so we can actually restore power without sending a crew to the location if we know everything is ok," said Ryan.