Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association

Storm Center

This page contains the following information:

Preparing for the Storm Season
Preparing for an Approaching Storm

After a Storm

FKEC Restoration Plan

Generator Safety and Proper Use

Hurricane Links


Preparing for the Storm Season

Storm Safety Tips

At FKEC, safety is a cornerstone of our commitment to members and employees. FKEC urges our members to be prepared and be aware of potential electrical hazards at all times, especially before, during and after a severe weather event. Below are electricity-related tips to keep you and your family safe during hurricane season.

Before a storm threatens (June 1 thru November)
  • Make sure FKEC has your current contact information on your electric account. This is important because when you call, our computers automatically recognize your phone number and match it to your FKEC account for a faster response.
  • Have your trees properly trimmed to minimize their potential impact on your home and your power system.
  • Keep your yard free of debris during hurricane season.
  • Do not attempt to trim vegetation growing on or near any overhead power lines.
    Contact FKEC at (305) 852-2431 or online to make a tree trim request.
  • If you or someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life sustaining medical equipment, it is your responsibility to have an emergency plan for backup power or a plan to relocate when a storm warning is issued. FKEC CANNOT ensure power restoration based on medical emergency needs.

How FKEC is prepared:

FKEC’s comprehensive storm plan focuses on readiness, restoration and recovery. Prior to every storm season, FKEC conducts extensive training to prepare employees to respond quickly and safely after a storm. We also coordinate assistance agreements with other utilities for additional support, which will enable us to quickly deploy equipment and crews in the event a storm causes damage to our service territory.

FKEC also works closely with emergency operations officials to update lists of infrastructure and facilities that are critical to the community, such as hospitals, police, fire, communications, water treatment plants and transportation providers. This information is used to establish priorities for restoration in areas affected by a storm.

Preparing for an Approaching Storm

Preparation Safety Tips

  • When lowering TV antennas or satellite dishes avoid power lines and equipment.
  • Turn off all swimming pool pumps and filters, and wrap them in waterproof materials.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings ahead of time to keep food fresh longer in the event of a power outage.
  • Turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment.
  • When working on a ladder, look up and note the location of power lines before you begin. Make sure you and your tools are at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Local emergency operations officials urge residents to prepare to be self sufficient for 3-14 days.
      • Check you disaster supply kit
      • Have supplies such as non-perishable food, diapers, batteries, water, manual can opener, etc…
      • Refill prescriptions and maintain at least a two-week supply during hurricane season.
    • Install an approved hurricane shutter system over windows and doors – or alternative coverings such as plywood.
    • If you plan to use a portable generator following the storm, safely store gasoline. Remember, gas station pumps will not work without electricity.
    • Keep extra cash on hand. An extended power outage may prevent you from withdrawing money from automatic teller machines or banks.
    • Review evacuation routes in case you must evacuate.
    • Contact a veterinarian or kennel to arrange for safe sheltering for your pet if you must evacuate. Public shelters may not accept pets.
    • Fill cars and equipment gas tanks and check oil, water and tires. Gas pumps don’t operate without electricity.
    • Listen for weather updates on local stations and on NOAA Weather Radio. Don’t trust rumors, and stay tuned to the latest information.
    • Clear property or tie down any items that could become flying missiles in high winds (i.e. lawn furniture, potted plants and trash cans).
    • Brace double entry and garage doors at the top and bottom.
    • Secure your boat early. Drawbridges will be closed to boat traffic after an evacuation order is issued.
    • Backup all computer data and ensure that backup is stored in a safe place off-site.
    • If you manage a business, run through your business continuity plan to ensure your communications plan is up-to-date and employees are aware of responsibilities after the storm.
    • Leave work/close the office with sufficient time to secure your home, obtain supplies and evacuate if necessary.

    After a Storm

    Report Downed Power Lines or Unsafe Equipment

    Stay clear of all downed power lines or electrical equipment. Call 911 to report a downed power line if you feel the situation presents a clear and imminent danger to you or others. Then report the wire down to FKEC by calling (305) 852-2431.

    “Wire down” calls are intended to safeguard the public from a life-threatening situation. FKEC emergency crews answering these calls will not restore power; they will only make the area safe. If you have already reported the wire down, your call has already generated a report and there is no need to report it again.

    Safety After a Storm

    Here are some basic tips that will keep you, your family and your employees safe while the power is out:

    • Assume all cables and wires are energized and stay away.
    • Call 911 and FKEC at 305-852-2431 to report fallen power lines that present a clear and imminent danger to you or others.
    • Stay away from flooded areas, or standing water and debris, which could potentially conceal ”energized” electrical wires.
    • If you leave your home, turn off all appliances or turn off your main breaker.
    • Avoid driving in damaged areas. You might interfere with rescue or restoration efforts, as well as jeopardize your own safety.
    • If operating a portable generator always run it outside your house or building and away from windows. See generator safety (link to that section on this page)
    • If your roof or windows leak, water in your walls and ceiling may come into contact with electrical wiring. Immediately turn off your circuit breakers, disconnect all electrical appliances that are still plugged in, and turn off all wall switches. Remember, never stand in water while operating switches or unplugging any electrical device.

    Power Restoration FAQs

    How does FKEC know who’s without power and when should I call?

    Immediately after a storm FKEC evaluates the entire power system. At this time we are able to determine who is without power and it is our priority to get power on quickly, safely and to the largest number of people as possible.

    Stay tuned to local radio and news media for specific reports on FKEC’s progress in assessing and repairing damage to the electrical system. You can also check our Live Power Outage Viewer to monitor progress.

    If your neighborhood gets power back after a storm—but you’re still without power—then please call FKEC at (305) 852-2431. Our automated system will record your outage information as long as the phone number you are calling from is associated with your account.

    As a member, what can I do after a storm to help with power restoration?

    Before you call to report an outage, check all circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your service outage might be the result of a household problem.

    If you have significant water damage in your home that might make it unsafe, call a licensed electrician for advice.

    Visually inspect the area outside your home near the meter. If the meter or any of the piping and wires on the wall of your home or office is gone or look damaged, call a licensed electrician.

    If no problems are apparent, FKEC will re-connect your service or assist in determining whether you have a household problem.

    We also care about the safety of our employees. We do not ask them to make repairs when conditions are unsafe or if the damaged area is flooded or inaccessible. In these extreme situations, we depend on your patience and understanding until we can restore power safely.

    Why is my neighbor’s power on and mine is not?

    Work is organized to restore power to the greatest number of members in the least amount of time. FKEC also prioritizes restoring power to life and safety situations and essential community services. Following this, crews work to restore power to individual members with isolated issues.

    There are several reasons your neighbors may have power when you do not:

    • You may be on a different feeder line than your neighbors.
    • The power line to your home may have more extensive damage.
    • There may be additional repairs needed before your home can be connected.
      • If your neighbors have power and you don’t, you may need to call a licensed electrician for repair work. There could be damage to the power line to your home, the meter box or the equipment carrying the wire to your meter. Ask your electrician to provide their state license and Certificate of Competency number. Once these repairs are made, FKEC will handle repairs to your meter.
    What do I do if my home is unsafe?

    Because safety is our primary concern, we cannot connect power to your home until inspectors have determined that your home is safe. If your home is unsafe, please call the appropriate licensed contractor to make the necessary repairs. After the repairs are completed, contact FKEC at 305-852-2431 to reconnect power to your home.

    What do I do if my power source connection is damaged?

    If the connection between your home and the power line, overhead or underground, is damaged, we will continue to work as quickly and safely as possible to repair it. Remember, restoration is organized to restore power to the greatest number of members in the least amount of time so isolated issues will be secondary to overall repairs.

    FKEC Restoration Plan

    Click here to view FKEC’s Restoration Plan

    At FKEC we work hard to maintain a storm-hardened power system. And, although we’re ready, damage to our system and resulting power outages are almost unavoidable in a strong storm. That is why we have an organized restoration plan in place. It is our priority to get power on quickly, safely and to the largest number of people as possible.

    Restoration Time

    Restoration time will depend on how many islands are affected and on the condition of the transmission system serving us from the mainland. Even if our local system is relatively undamaged, our service from FP&L may be interrupted. If so, full power cannot be restored until the mainland connection is repaired. Damage assessment in our area will commence as soon as conditions allow.

    Outside Assistance

    Virtually every employee is mobilized after a storm to assist in storm restoration. Additionally, we have “Mutual Aid Agreements” with a long list of other utilities, cooperatives and contractors, such as tree trimming crews, to assist us after a storm. If damage exceeds our ability to restore service in a reasonable time, we will request crews from other utilities. The Tavernier Operations Center is also equipped to house and feed FKEC’s employees as well as outside crews if necessary.

    Order of Restoration

    Work is organized to restore power to the greatest number of members in the least amount of time. FKEC also prioritizes restoring power to life and safety situations and essential community services. Following this, crews work to restore power to individual members with isolated issues.

    Managing Phone Calls

    FKEC uses an automated outage reporting system which links your phone number(s) to your address, making it critical for us to have your current phone numbers, including cell phones. The system takes customer calls and generates outage reports by prioritizing according to our restoration plan.

    Generator Safety and Proper Use

    Improper use of portable generators can cause serious injury to residents, repair crews, and damage to homes and appliances. Prior to Hurricane season, inspect your generator and give it a test run. This is also a good time to check your extension cords to make sure they are in good condition.

    Always follow your generators instructions and remember these safety tips:

    • Always thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe operation of your generator.
    • Remember, gasoline-powered generators produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Never run generators inside, or in a garage!
    • Keep generators away from all open windows – including neighbors’ windows – so deadly exhaust (carbon-monoxide) does not enter the home or business.
    • To be safe, buy a battery-operated carbon-monoxide alarm when you buy your generator. It works like a smoke alarm, sounding an alert if carbon-monoxide levels become dangerous.
    • Be a good neighbor. If the power is out, your neighbors are probably sleeping with their windows open. Consider that the sound of your generator may not be music to everyone’s ears!
    • Don’t leave a running generator unattended; turn it off at night and when away from home.
    • Never refuel a hot generator or one that is running; hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline.
    • Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator.
    • Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator’s rated wattage.
    • Overloading the generator can result in damage to appliances it is powering.
    • You don’t need to run everything at the same time. Rotating larger items allows the use of a smaller generator, which costs less to buy and is easier to move.
    • Refrigerators may only need to run a few hours a day to preserve food. Using a refrigerator thermometer, aim to maintain 40 degrees in the refrigerator compartment and 0 degrees in the freezer.  
    • Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. Power from a generator connected to a home’s wiring will “back feed” into utility lines, potentially injuring or killing utility crew working to restore service.
      • Plug appliances directly into the generator’s outlet.
      • Use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for outdoor use to keep the generator safely outdoors.
      • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for grounding the generator.
      • Alternative: make safe use of a portable generator with FKEC’s “GenSafe” device. GenSafe allows cooperative member-consumers to purchase a meter with a built-in outlet for a portable generator (7,200 watts or less).

    Storm Site Links

    Internet sites offer a wide array of useful storm information this season. Just click on the name of the site you want to see, and we'll take you there. The information on this page links to third party services. All links will open in a separate browser windows. The availability of the information may be affected if these sites are experiencing technical difficulties.

    Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

    National Hurricane Center: Source for storm watching

    National Weather Service - Key West: Local Weather Information

    Other Weather Information

    Organizations

    Monroe County Emergency Management: Links to the Monroe County Emergency Management site.

    Florida Division of Emergency Management: Links to all major storm information sites.

    American Red Cross: Links to local chapters.

    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): U.S. disaster relief services.

    Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association
    Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association