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Storm Safety

For storm updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

View and report electric outages online or report them by texting OUT to "MyJEA" (69532).

Storm Season: June 1 - November 30

2016-2017 Emergency Preparedness Guide Hurricanes and tropical storms generally can be tracked days ahead of impact, providing ample time to prepare. However, these storms can quickly change direction, speed, and intensity. Make a plan to protect the people and things you value.

If a major storm causes an outage that affects your home or business, we will respond as soon as possible to restore your services. Please become familiar with the Emergency Preparedness Guide, published by the Duval County Emergency Management Division.

Two Ways to Update Your Information

Make sure we have your latest phone number (cellphone and land line) as well as an email address on file, as we’ll be communicating with customers through these channels.

  1. Update your contact information online.
  2. Call us at 665-6000 to update your contact information by phone.

JEA is Prepared

Beginning in October 2013, JEA initiated a project to invest $17 million per year for three years to harden our electric system to better withstand impending hurricanes and tornadoes. The video below illustrates the storm hardening project which included inspecting 14,000 utility poles and clearing vegetation from 1,200 miles of power lines.

     

We also believe in the power of community. That’s why we have mutual aid agreements with utilities in Florida and Georgia to help work together to restore power after damaging storms. 

About Mutual Aid

Storm Updates

JEA is committed to providing reliable electric and water service but situations such as storms, accidents, animals or construction-related incidents can cause outages. In the case of a major (named) tropical storm, this page will provide you with timely updates on our restoration efforts. For localized or minor outages we recommend you check out our Outage Center.

Before the Storm

We encourage you to take steps now to ensure you and your family are prepared should a hurricane or other natural disaster strike our community. Remember that you can always get get storm and hurricane updates on social media. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter now!

Medical Needs Equipment

JEA does not restore power to certain customers before others, no matter their dependence on life-sustaining medical devices. This is why we urge customers with such devices to consider sitting the storm out at a shelter. Duval County residents with medical conditions requiring the use of a Special Medical Needs Shelter during an emergency evacuation should register every year with the Emergency Preparedness Division. 
Special Needs Shelter Registration Forms
Call COJ at (904) 630-2489

Tree Trimming 

Jacksonville and the surrounding areas experienced outages to the power grid due to trees-related damage during Hurricane Matthew. Proper tree care and routine trimming can greatly reduce existing tree defects and liabilities by improving tree structure and health. Local tree care specialists and arborists can help identify risks and minimize damage before the storm strikes. Learn more at treesaregood.com.
Tree Damage and Debris Removal

Evacuation 

Check to see if your home is vulnerable to hurricane tidal surge flooding. The City of Jacksonville's storm surge map gives you a general indication of the extent of flooding that might be experienced from various hurricane categories.
Storm Surge Zones and Evacuation Routes

Gather Supplies

  • Enough bottled water for several days (one gallon per person per day).
  • Battery-powered radio and flashlights and plenty of batteries (not candles).
  • Can opener that doesn't require electricity.
  • Tire sealant handy to quickly repair and inflate tires damaged by debris after the storm.
  • Regular, corded phone. Cordless phones will not work when the power is off. Fully charge cell phones.

For more tips, follow the City of Jacksonville's recommendations for what you should have in your Emergency Supply Kit.
Emergency Supply Kit List  

Make a Plan

Create an individualized plan for your family or business, no matter what the circumstances. The Florida Division of Emergency Management provides a step-by-step process to ensure you have all of your bases covered.
Create Your Own Disaster Plan    

More Preparation Tips

  • Board up windows (masking tape is not recommended).
  • Secure lawn furniture.
  • Capture water in your water heater by turning off power to the unit, then close the water valves. This way if you lose water pressure, you will have about 40 gallons of fresh water stored in the tank
  • Store additional water in your bathtub, and fill the washing machine with water, too. This water supply can be used later for cleaning or to operate your toilet.
  • If you plan to evacuate, turn off the circuit breakers for the water heater. Also, consider turning off power to your home at the main electrical panel and turning off water at the home's main service valve.

JEA Prepares for Storms, Too

JEA has a comprehensive, detailed plan for responding to a hurricane that assigns responsibilities to each JEA employee. Even office workers will be out in the field supporting those repair crews. They also may serve as guides to out-of-town repair crews, using chain saws to remove debris from JEA facilities, or serving meals to restoration crews.

JEA has agreements and contracts with other electric utilities, food vending companies, fuel suppliers, tree-cutting services and other vendors to assist and support the restoration effort. JEA has also formed alliances with other regional utilities when we need extra equipment and personnel to help us restore services as quickly and safely as possible. In return, we support their restoration efforts if called upon to do so. However, we will not send crews to another area if we are experiencing major loss of service due to a storm.

Local Resources 

National Resources

During the Storm

As long as safety permits, we will continue trying to keep power on for all customers by making repairs to the system as needed. However, once winds exceed 30 miles per hour, it is no longer safe to use equipment like bucket trucks. At that point, JEA will order crews to shelter until the brunt of the storm passes. Crews will return to work as soon as they can safely do so.  

Map of Current Outages

View Current Cutages and Number of Customers Affected

If You Lose Power During a Hurricane

When our community experiences a major weather event such as a hurricane, we will likely have widespread outages with lots of damage to trees and property. When winds reach 30 mph, our crews will no longer be able to work in the field to restore power and will have to move to safety until the storm passes. One of the first steps in the restoration process after the storm is to conduct an assessment of the damages to the entire electric system. That usually happens over the first 24 to 48 hours. During that time, if you are without power, generally you do not need to call and let us know. If we know the electric circuit you are connected to, and that circuit is out, then we know you are out. Once the assessment is done, we will follow our repair plan to get the most customers back on as quickly as possible.
Learn About the Restoration Process

Visit the Outage Map to get information about the restoration process and when you should call if you are still without power. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get news and updates. 

    Electric Safety During a Hurricane

    • Stay away from downed power lines. You don't have to touch a downed power line to be electrocuted. If the line is touching any object, including the ground, it poses a deadly hazard. Report downed lines immediately by calling 911.
    • Do not try to fix your service by opening transformers or any other type of JEA equipment. In addition to potentially causing more electrical damage, this can also result in serious injury or death.
    • Staying safe is the top priority for our line crews. Customers should keep in mind that stopping the engineers to ask questions could slow down work and the overall restoration effort, and pose a safety risk for this potentially dangerous job. 
    • If appliances were on when the power was lost, make sure all appliances are turned off. If left on, they could pose fire hazards when the power is restored.
    • If your home floods, have your electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician before turning your power back on.  
    • Know how to use your backup generator and make sure your generator is registered with JEA prior to the storm to avoid injury or death of JEA employees working on power lines.  

    Water and Wastewater Safety During a Hurricane

    • If you see a Sanity Sewer Overflow, stay away from the waste and contact JEA at (904) 665-6000 to report it. JEA has portable, gas-powered generators that it uses to keep pump stations working in the event of a major power outage and prevent Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs).
      Learn About Current Sanitary Sewer Overflows
    • If you lose water service, but not power, turn off the circuit breaker for the water heater to prevent damage to the heating elements from overheating.
    • If a Boil Water Advisory is issued and power is out, use a very light concentration of bleach to purify water. 
      Learn About Boil Water Advisory Procedures

    What to Do During a Hurricane  

    • Listen to the radio or TV for information. Follow precautions and warnings issued by your county’s Emergency Operations Center.
    • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
    • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
    • For more information, visit FEMA's website

    After the Storm

    JEA maintains a comprehensive emergency plan that utilizes our highly skilled workforce, and many additional resources, to restore electric, water and sewer service.   

    In the case of a major outage, it may be days or even weeks before all power is restored. However, JEA has mutual aid agreements in place with other electric utilities around the southeast, and private companies that perform utility construction and tree clearing. These extra crews would provide assistance to help restore power as quickly and safely as possible. 
    Learn About Mutual Aid Agreements

    Hurricane Hermine Restoration

    JEA crews worked around the clock to restore power after Hurricane Hermine.

    If You See Downed Power Lines

    Please call 911 immediately to report a downed electric line. Stay away from all downed power lines because they may be energized. If you get close enough to an energized power line you can be electrocuted - even without actually touching the wire. The City of Jacksonville's Department of Public Works is responsible for removing trees, limbs and other debris from the roadways. To report this, contact COJ at (904) 630-2489.

    Flooding and Your Electrical Connections

    Consult a private electrician to determine if it is safe to restore power to your home. If rising waters approached your home, but just missed coming inside, you may need to have an air conditioning contractor check your heating and cooling system. The outdoor unit of the air conditioner typically sits on the ground, lower than the home, so rising water may have gotten into the electrical connections and wiring of the compressor unit control panel.

    Spoiled Food During a Storm

    Hurricanes are considered an act of nature, therefore JEA is not responsible for spoilage. JEA encourages customers to buy canned goods, not perishable items, and keep food stored in freezers to a minimum during hurricane season.

    According to the American Red Cross, food can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to two days without electricity, and even longer in the freezer. However, they also recommend using the food in the refrigerator first as the frozen food will be safe longer. Freezing and storing water in clean containers to leave in the refrigerator before the storm hits can also help your food stay cool. It's best to have plenty of non-perishable food on hand to get you through post-hurricane recovery. Of course, don't open the refrigerator/freezer door any more than necessary.

    Once Power is Restored

    If your power is on, JEA encourages you to keep your front porch/flood light on - day and night - which will help our assessment teams further focus their attention on homes and facilities where power still needs to be restored.

      Generator Safety

      Portable Generator Preparation

      • If you already have a generator, don’t wait until a storm is almost upon us to prepare it for use.
      • Check the power and amperage requirements of the appliances your generator will be running so you’re sure your generator can handle it.
      • For homes with well pumps, when power is lost, so is your water supply. Your generator must be large enough to handle the load of the pump, including the starting amps. These homes should install a transfer switch in order to power the pumps.
      • Be sure you purchase enough fuel containers and fuel to run your generator for a few weeks. Do not store the fuel indoors or anywhere near your generator.
      • Be sure to purchase the proper extension cords and store them with the generator.
      • If you don’t have a suitable, safe location for your generator (outside your home and garage where it won’t get wet), build a small generator enclosure in a good location where it can be run when needed.
      • Run your generator every two months to make sure it's running properly. Generators that sit for long periods of time with old fuel may not run when needed.
      • Consider calling an electrician to have a transfer switch installed in your home so it’s safe and convenient to power your home from the generator when the time comes.

      Take Generator Safety Seriously

      Thousands of people relied on portable generators after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Unfortunately, misuse of portable generators killed at least five people and made dozens of others seriously ill. Follow these safety rules when operating your generator:  

      • Register your generator with JEA to avoid injury or death of JEA employees working on power lines.
      • Read the instruction manual that came with your portable generator.
      • Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. They generate carbon monoxide, which is odorless and colorless, and will kill you if used in an enclosed area.
      • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to warn you and your family of potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
      • Put the generator outside in a place where exhaust fumes will dissipate. Operate away from air intakes in a dry area that’s protected from the rain.
      • Do not connect your generator directly to your home's wiring. Generators can "backfeed" into the power lines attached to your home, which can increase voltage anywhere on our system and seriously injure or kill a JEA lineman or your neighbor on the same line.
      • If you wish to hard-wire a generator to your home, it must be installed by a licensed electrician with an approved transfer switch. This is Florida law!
      • Don’t plug a portable generator into an electrical outlet in your home or garage. It can still “backfeed” power into JEA’s utility lines.
      • Connect a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord to your generator, then connect your appliances directly to the extension cord. Be sure the cord is in good condition (no cuts, frayed wires or missing insulation) and is a 3 prong grounded cord.
      • Don’t overload your generator. If you put too many things on the generator, it could seriously damage your appliances and electronics.
      • Be sure your generator is properly grounded so you don’t get shocked. Your owner’s manual can help you with this.
      • Do not store gasoline to fuel your generator in your house or next to the generator. Also, shut off your generator and let it cool down for 3 to 5 minutes before refueling. And be sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby. Never refuel the generator while it's running!
      • Keep children and pets away from your portable generator. It will get hot enough to give you - and your kids - a severe burn. 

      Commercial Standby Power

      The recent destruction of Hurricane Matthew was a stark reminder of how powerful storms can be and the damage they can cause. Northeast Florida has been fortunate to have avoided such large storms over the years, but every year the dice are rolled again and we all cross our fingers that our luck will hold out.

      Business Risk Assessment

      Although we have no control over the storms themselves, we can control how prepared we are and how we deal with the damage. If a Category 3 -- or larger -- hurricane hits Northeast Florida, you could be out of power for several weeks. Possibly longer. Have you considered the impact to your business if power is out for a long period of time? If not, making that part of your business’s emergency plans is critical. Consider performing a business risk assessment to determine the level of risk to your business. You may realize it’s time to acquire a standby power system to feed your critical loads during an outage. 

      Designing the System

      If you decide to buy one, spend a little time designing the system. A properly designed system can save money and ensure the generator can provide the power and energy you need when you really need it. Generator under sizing is a very common mistake. Don’t just buy and install something that “should” work. Take a close look at the loads you’ll need to run and the requirements they have. Good questions to answer include: What starting currents does the equipment have and can the generator handle them? How critical are the loads? What type of transfer switch system will you need? Do you need to run the whole facility or just some specific, critical loads?

      Because utility power is very reliable, you may design your system to just get by during brief outages. During a major natural disaster you probably won’t be able to operate normally anyway because the community around you will be in disorder. So your power system may only be needed to operate critical functions until things improve. This will reduce the size and cost of the system you’ll need. Do some homework and work closely with an Electrical Contractor on the design of your system.

      Fuel Source

      You also should consider what type of fuel the generator will use, how much fuel it requires and how that fuel will be stored. Fuel type and capacity is very important aspect of design and operation. You will have to choose between gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. Once you choose a fuel source, run some calculations on how much you’ll need. Generators can gobble up a lot of fuel, especially if they’re running for long periods of time. Finally, take some time to consider the location of the generator, noise and emissions levels and aesthetics in the initial design plans.

      If you decide a portable generator will be sufficient to power your loads, it’s best to spend a little money to get the system set up properly and safely. If you don’t have a covered, ventilated outdoor space for the generator while it’s running, build one. Don’t run the generator anywhere near the inside of the business where carbon monoxide fumes can enter. Doing so can be deadly.

      Standby Generator Application

      You should also install a bus transfer switch that will allow you to safely power up the electric panel from the generator. Running power cords may not be the easiest way for your business to function and rigging something to power your panel is dangerous and illegal. A simple transfer switch should be installed to ensure there’s no back feeding to the grid and you’re safely powering up the loads. Most electrical contractors should be able to install one or you can consider implementing something like a Generlink transfer switch. You’ll also need to fill out a standby generator application with JEA. This application must be reviewed and approved by JEA before the permit is released.

      Periodic Maintenance

      Once your system is installed, create and implement a routine testing and maintenance program. Periodic maintenance and testing will help ensure the generator operates properly when you need it. It’s also a good practice to test the transfer switch and run the system under full load for a brief time every so often to see how the generator handles it and whether there are any issues that need addressed. Just starting up the generator and running it ensures the generator will run, but it doesn’t ensure that the power system will switch over and operate properly under load.

      Testing is typically performed monthly or quarterly, depending on the critical nature of the load. You should also test the system at the first indication that a severe storm may impact the region. Testing and running the system under load should be done with portable generators as well, but it’s not nearly as critical because another one can be quickly purchased, assuming there are some still available when you discover that yours doesn’t work.

      Your maintenance plan should also include tracking the fuel’s age. Fuel has a limited life span which varies among the fuel types. Keep track to make sure you have plenty of relatively fresh fuel, especially at the start of storm season.

      Other Options

      There are other options if you are unable to purchase and install a system. You can rent or lease a generator, but you’ll need a strong relationship with the dealer and a keen sense of timing because when you need it, most likely many others will as well. You can also look into sharing a generator with neighboring businesses. It’s not common, but there are folks who do it. No matter what type, size or alternative you choose, you’ll be glad for it during a utility outage when backup power can become the lifeblood of your business.

      Power Restoration Process

      After a major storm has passed and it is safe for JEA crews to work, JEA assesses the damage to our system and begins the restoration process. This effort could take several days, depending on the level of damage the system sustains. After the assessment is complete, JEA will have a better idea of how long it will take to restore service to customers. Also during this time, JEA will be communicating updates through local media outlets about outages, where crews are working and the progress being made.

      If you have damage where the electric wires attach to your house, you must have a licensed electrician it before we can restore power to your house.
      Homeowner's Responsibilities After a Storm

      JEA Does Not Restore a Specific Side of Town Before the Other

      The only customers that receive any special consideration are hospitals, public safety and other life support or life-sustaining institutions. Typically, these large customers are served by very large electric lines, which are the first lines to be repaired anyway.

      Customers should keep in mind that stopping the engineers to ask questions will slow down this assessment and can also slow down the overall restoration effort. If your power is on, JEA encourages you to keep your front porch/flood light on - day and night - which will help our assessment teams further focus their attention on homes and facilities where power needs to be restored.

      Why Do Restoration Times Differ Within a Neighborhood?

      There are many reasons why your neighborhood may have areas without power next to areas with power:

      • In many instances, a single street is served by two different main power lines and/or substations, which explains why your neighbors may have power restored before you do.
      • It could also be that you and your neighbor do not share the same power line (more specifically, the same circuit).
      • The power line feeding electricity to your home may be damaged, while the one to your neighbor's house is not.
      • It also could be that your individual connection requires repair.
      • It may also be possible that your home needs internal electrical repairs before you can receive service.
      • If you see a crew passing but not stopping, it may be because work must be performed at a nearby location before electricity can be restored to your home.

      Again, JEA will work to restore power to the largest number of customers first, moving to individual locations once power has been restored to major concentrations of customers.

      Restoring Power Safely and Efficiently

      JEA generally restores power in the sequence that will result in returning service to the greatest number of customers as soon as possible. 

      Here’s how the restoration process works:

      Restoration graphic.gif

      1. The first step in our restoration plan is damage assessment, which includes physical inspections of our facilities and plants. Once damage assessments have been made, JEA begins repairs.
      2. We begin repairs to our generating facilities and transmission lines from those plants, and to water and wastewater treatment facilities.
      3. Next, we move on to main line repairs on electric circuits, water and sewer systems that serve critical facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations.
      4. It is our goal to restore services to the greatest number of customers as soon as possible.
      5. Once the large impact areas have had power restored, JEA begins restoring power to those small pockets or individuals still without power.
      We apologize for the inconvenience but bill pay is temporarily unavailable on jea.com and through our phone system because of scheduled maintenance between 10:00pm-12am Saturday April 11. You can still pay your bill at our various payment locations. We appreciate your patience.

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