While it’s ultimately uncertain how Hurricane Ian will impact Duval County, local utility JEA is getting ready for the storm.
JEA, which serves Jacksonville and some surrounding areas, announced Monday that utility disconnections would be paused effective Tuesday. It is unclear at this point how long the pause will last.
“As part of normal storm preparation, starting Tuesday JEA will temporarily suspend customer disconnections for non-payment as we mobilize to support our community,” JEA announced.
Disconnections resumed last week after a six-week grace period in which customers in arrears were encouraged to work out terms of payment with the utility during that reprieve.
The pause in disconnections comes as the utility readies itself for the storm. JEA’s Emergency Operations Center will assume partial activation status.
“At this level, the EOC will perform around-the-clock storm monitoring and release scheduled communications to internal teams, field crews and customers with pertinent storm updates,” a media release noted.
Help is here for when power goes out, said CEO Jay Stowe.
“Regardless of the impact, all 2,000+ JEA team members are ready to mobilize and restore power and water as soon as possible for our customers, as we prepare year-round for all types of severe weather,” Stowe said.
And help is on the way. Mutual aid agreements historically invoked by JEA and other Florida utilities during storm season are in play again, so locals should not be surprised if they see utility trucks from outside the area during the restoration period.
Overall, the utility is projecting optimism ahead of the storm, noting investments in storm hardening, year-round trimming, and infrastructure installed in recent years after failures during Irma five years ago.
The utility has made significant investments in upgrading our water and sewer facilities, and has installed backup generators to reduce the risk of storm-related service interruptions.