Many Northeast Florida residents get their electricity from JEA, and the utility laid out ahead of Hurricane Ian’s arrival its process for handling the storm as crews prepare on standby to get power flowing again through lines to area homes and businesses.
“We’ve got crews — really good crews, 2,000 people,” JEA Managing Director and CEO Jay Stowe said at a Wednesday morning news conference.
“Our operation crews are experienced in this. They’re going to do a great job restoring things once the storm comes through. But we also have mutual aid crews and contractors coming in to support everything. We want people to be safe, take care of themselves and their home. The crews are getting trucks ready right now and we’re working on being prepared as best we can.”
Workers in Northeast Florida and those set to arrive are stocking up their trucks with the necessary gear, but call center workers are also on the job to assist customers.
“Right now, we’re bringing in a total of 235 additional people — that’ll give us 40 additional crews to our existing — we’ve got approximately 200 personnel right now, with 30 crews,” Jerry Creel, senior manager for electric distribution, construction and maintenance at JEA’s Southside Service Center, said Tuesday.
“We’re essentially building our workforce, so we should be able to respond to pretty much any situation.”
The JEA website is also undergoing continual updates regarding the status of power supply in the region.
“We also have our … operations crews in our water department taking care of our pump stations, our water plants, water reclamation facilities, trying to keep the system running,” Stowe said, “because we’re foundational to the community, and it’s never more apparent than now.”
Outages and flooding are expected. People can report outages through the JEA website and through the call center at 904-665-6000.
“We also know the outage is there because the meters will tell us if the outage is there,” Stowe said, “and then we’ll respond as quickly as we can. Depending on how large-scale this is, it could take a while. Then I ask for patience, because we’ve got people out trying to serve customers and trying to be safe while they do it, so just be patient as we try to get things turned back on as quickly as we can.”