In the beginning
- Prior to the storm’s arrival, the Electric Utility Department [EUD] has already prepared their crews, and if needed, secured outside assistance via the city’s mutual aid agreement through the Florida Municipal Electric Association to be on standby, ready to assist.
- Once a major storm causes large-scale power outages, EUD immediately begins evaluation of the damage. For outdoor evaluations, crews do not work in unsafe conditions when the wind speed is at 35 MPH or greater.
- For the first 24 hours, EUD cannot tell customers when power will be restored. This is because crews are still assessing the damage and prioritizing restoration efforts. Your patience is of utmost importance during this stage.
Determining who gets power turned on first
- Priority 1 = critical life-safety locations [hospitals, police & fire stations, other emergency facilities, and critical lift stations]
- Priority 2 = largest outages [repair power lines serving the largest number of customers in multiple locations]
- Priority 3 = smallest outages [repair power lines serving a small number of customers at each location]
How your power is restored
Why does my neighbor have power and I don’t?
There are a variety of reasons why this might occur:
- Your house may be on a different feeder line or transformer than your neighbor.
- The service line may have been damaged [line from the power pole to your home].
- Your main breaker that connects power lines to your home may be switched off. Please check your main breaker [normally located next to your meter outside your home].
- You have damage to your weatherhead [only on overhead services]. If you are without power and your neighbor has been restored, check your weatherhead connection. The weatherhead is where the electric lines meet the electric meter on your home. If this is damaged, you will need to have it repaired by a licensed electrician before the Electric Utility Department [EUD] can restore your power.
Important safety reminders
- In a major storm, there will be lines down that may still be energized.
- Do not touch any downed lines.
- Do not assume any wire on the ground is safe to touch.
- Stay away from all wires, avoid anything they are touching, and report the issue.
- In a major event, the initial outage volume is very high, so please understand the EUD will work to restore your power as quickly as possible.
- Registration with the city’s or county’s special needs program DOES NOT offer you uninterrupted utility service, exempt you from payment of electric bills, or make your property a higher priority for restoration.
Customers on life support systems should make arrangements in advance to move to a location where their needs can be met.
City of Winter Park Medical Essential Service Program
This program offered by the City of Winter Park to its electric utility customers provides:
- Limited extension of time to pay utility bills.
- Special notification* prior to disconnection of service for non-payment to allow customer to secure funds or make necessary arrangements [*outages due to natural disasters are unexpected, no prior notifications will be provided].
Customers need to meet the following criteria:
- Certified by a licensed physician of your medically-essential need.
- Dependent on electric-powered equipment that must be operated continuously or as circumstances require as specified by a physician to avoid the loss of life or serious medical complications requiring immediate hospitalization.
To receive these benefits, download, complete and submit a Medical Essential Service Information Form found at cityofwinterpark.org/MedicalEssentialService.
Orange County People with Special Needs Program
During periods of evacuation or emergency, if you or a family member require evacuation and/or sheltering assistance due to physical, mental or cognitive impairments, or sensory disabilities, it is important that you are aware of the Orange County People with Special Needs Program [PSN].
Who is eligible?
- Any Orange County resident who meets the established eligibility criteria may register.
- Registrants need to update their information annually or as the registrant’s needs change.
- Registrants that do not update their information annually will be placed in an inactive status.
How do you register?
- Visit snr.floridadisaster.org. [Florida Department of Emergency Management]
- Visit orangecountyfl.net/psn. [Orange County Government]
- Contact 407-836-9319 and request a form for Orange County People with Special Needs Program.
- Contact 407-836-9140 and request a form from the Orange County Office of Emergency Management.
- Ask your home healthcare agency, hospice agency, medical equipment supplier or senior social service agency to register you.
Information collected during the registration process is confidential by law and can only be given to emergency responders who may provide for the registrant’s needs during an emergency..
Know what the weather conditions may bring and then choose a place in your home or other building that is safe for that hazard [i.e., for a tornado, an interior room on the lowest level away from windows, doors & outside walls].
Orange County provides hurricane and storm emergency shelters as part of its comprehensive response to help individuals, families and communities respond to and recover from disasters. In the event of a storm, shelters will be opened as deemed necessary.
- General population shelters These shelters serve central Floridians that have been evacuated from their homes, live in low-lying areas, and others seeking shelter from the storm. Shelters are alcohol-, drug- and weapon-free environments. Individuals should come prepared with supplies [see page 22].
- Special medical needs shelters Orange County has three designated special-needs shelter sites during an emergency.
During a hurricane, for example, citizens are encouraged to monitor their local television and radio stations for specific shelter openings and locations. Once Orange County designates shelter locations, the City of Winter Park will share them on this page.
Residents are asked to call 311 if they require special-needs sheltering or transportation.
After the storm
- Do not wander outside to “sight-see” until the area is declared safe by officials. Although the desire to start clean-up efforts is great, conditions are still dangerous [live power lines may be down in areas you cannot see; storm debris scattered about; weakened tree limbs; etc.].
- Never approach a loose/dangling power line – report them immediately.
- Drive only if necessary.
- If you had to evacuate, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- Stay out of any building that is surrounded by water.
- Avoid using tap water until you are sure it is safe to consume.
- Inspect your home for damages, take pictures and report.
- Check refrigerator and/or freezer for food spoilage [if the power went out].
- Abide by city and county curfews. Please stay indoors until curfews are lifted.
- Notices regarding curfews will be posted on this page.
Separate, separate, separate
- After a storm, debris of all types may be scattered everywhere. Once your curfew has been lifted, here are the proper ways to collect, gather, and pile debris for expedited pick up.
Depending on the severity
- For weather events that result in significant property damage, please place construction or demolition debris, major household appliances, electronics & computers, and household hazardous waste in SEPARATE piles at curbside for pick up, as determined by the city.
- Updates for debris pick up will be shared on this page.