Roughly 12,000 Destin residents and businesses were affected by an overnight power outage early Friday morning as Gulf Power crews worked to repair a damaged static line.
The damaged line runs on top of the transmission line and was part of the smart grid improvements Gulf Power made in recent years. It was first noticed about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. However, the static line itself does not transmit power but is designed to keep the system safe and operational in the event of a lightning strike. The decision was made to monitor the line and postpone the repairs until about 2 a.m. Friday.
“It was 7:30, so right then you have restaurants going, you have traffic,” said Jeff Rogers, spokesperson for Gulf Power. “The middle of the night just makes a lot more sense to impact fewer people.
“I hope that will show our customers we’re trying to do these repairs quickly but also in a manner that impacts the least amount of customers at a time,” he added.
The repairs were completed, and power was restored to the majority of customers, at about 4 a.m. Friday.
Although the repairs were an emergency job, residents who called Gulf Power’s outage phone number overnight may have been confused because the message told people the outage was a planned outage.
“It was only planned because we planned not to do it right (at 7:30 p.m.),” Rogers said. “We planned to do it in the middle of the night. It is not what we would call a typical planned outage when we would send notifications to customers.
“We apologize for the incorrect information on the phone,” he added. “I know it confused some people.”
In a typical planned outage, Rogers said Gulf Power sends out postcards notifying their customers of upcoming maintenance that will result in a loss of power weeks in advance so people can plan for the event. He added that Gulf Power employees had already met on Friday morning to discuss changing the phone messaging system to avoid that type of confusion in the future.
Gulf Power crews were able to permanently repair the static line overnight, so future outages to conduct additional repair work will not be needed, he said.