Hurricane Dorian: LCEC prepares for power outages ahead of storm

One of the main things people worry about is losing power during a storm. In Lee County a power company that provides electricity for a large part of the area is preparing to keep the streets safe, hoping to prevent potential for long-term power outages.

Lee County Electric Cooperative is clearing branches and other debris Thursday that could cause power outages during potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian next week.

Mary Merkel said she is keeping a close eye on Dorian. She knows the pain of losing power for days after a major storm and fears that could happen again.

“I have my mom that lives here now,” Merkel said. “She had a stroke back in February, and I have a handicapped son. So if the power goes out for any length of time, we have to pay for a hotel.”

Merkel isn’t only hoping for the lights to stay on. She is also taking action. She has a worker coming to work in the yard to clear any potential hazards during a storm.

Her neighbor is also making plans.

“We got to take the coconuts down from our tree and bring the back-patio furniture in, so probably by Saturday if we know it’s getting close,” Michael Alpen said.

LCEC said the neighbors we spoke to are doing the right thing to prevent a power outage. Tree branches and outdoor furniture turn into projectiles if they are left outside during a hurricane and can down power lines. The power company said it’s doing its part to prevent long outages, especially since many suffered from long-term outages after Hurricane Irma.

STORM PREP TIPS FROM LCEC:

  • Practice their personal and business plan for if they lose power
  • Trim vegetation that could impact the utility system
  • Remove debris and other items that could blow into the power lines
  • Remain patient if outages occur. LCEC has a plan and will work continuously until all is restored.

“The infrastructure was damaged so severely, and it was because of debris and different things with the wind,” LCEC spokesperson Karen Ryan said. “So we’ve been able to go out there, do some storm hardening. Also, we’ve done a lot of vegetation management to prepare for events like this.”

MORE: Hurricane Dorian: FPL activates emergency response plan

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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