JEA upgrading equipment in preparation for future storms

Board also discusses hiring new CEO


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA said it’s working harder now so Jacksonville residents can have power during the next storm. 

The city-owned utility was criticized during the last two hurricanes for not accurately communicating when power would be restored.

During a board meeting Tuesday, members learned that drills have been taking place and JEA is upgrading equipment by adding two-way meters, which will let the utility know when power is out and when it's back on. Crews have also been trimming trees.

"It's worth noting that we did restore power faster than any other major city in Florida after Hurricane Irma," said Melissa Dykes, JEA’s president and chief operating officer. "We also learned a tremendous amount through that process to make our restorations even better going forward."

RELATED: Regulators weigh power restoration issues

JEA is also adding more power backups to sewage lift stations to avoid hazardous waste spills, which occurred during both hurricanes Matthew and Irma.

Also during the board meeting, members expressed concerns about hiring a new chief executive officer. They would like to see if the new CEO could be in place by fall, and appointed a search committee that will work with a headhunting firm to find somebody to fill the position that was vacated when Paul McElroy resigned earlier this year.

Since then, interim CEO Aaron Zahn has filled the slot, and he wants to be considered for the permanent position. 

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