JEA fixes weather-related outages

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Ken Hatcher was looking forward to being able to turn on a light and turn up the heat. But he was among the many Jacksonville residents affected by power outages Tuesday due to near record-low temps.

Crews say in his case, the high-powered winds knocked tree branches onto his power lines.

"I've maybe had a coat on and had gloves on," Hatcher said. "So it's not been -- well, if you had kids or had kids here, it really would have been bad."

Officials say the highest number of outages at any time Tuesday was just more than 250.

Either way, JEA crews have worked round the clock, cutting branches and restoring lines, all in the cold.

With each job taking up to 45 minutes to complete, it can make working outside a bit tedious. The crews have to be prepared.

"Put on a lot of layers, a lot of clothes," JEA worker Chuck Griffin said. "This is not a real bad storm here, it's just cold. So there's not really anything we'd do any other day. It's just colder than normal."

JEA officials say the number of outages could have been a lot worse, considering how many customers it has all over the city. But it also says the current number is a rolling one, subject to change at any minute.

"We could be down to zero like we were this morning and then go up to 200 depending on what happens, because there are various reasons for why outages take place," JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce said.

If that happens, JEA says crews on standby will be ready to move in. For now, it's a game of wait and see.

"I know they were running all over the city with power outages. So I think they did a great job in a short period of time," Hatcher said. "Just glad to have heat."

To report a power outage, call JEA at 904-665-6000.

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