Florida Public Utilities Co., a subsidiary of Dover-based Chesapeake Utilities Corp. has restored power to all customers affected by Hurricane Michael.
The powerful storm was the first Category 4 hurricane on record to make landfall in theFlorida Panhandle, bringing 155 mile-per-hour winds and inflicting heavy damage throughout northwestFlorida.
Hurricane Michae, which hit the area on the 10th of October, impacted FPU’s entire electric system in northwestFloridaand knocked out power to about 13,000 customers.
The utility, assisted by other utilities and third-party crews, work around the clock shifts and rebuild miles of power lines, replaced more than 2,000 electric polls and installed more storm resistant equipment.
The utility estimates that once completed, more than$50 million will have been spent. Consistent with past practices, at the appropriate time, FPU will seek a recovery of the associated storm-related costs.
“I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to our employees and volunteers for their dedication to our customers and colleagues during the most expansive restoration effort in our history,” saidMichael P. McMasters, CEO of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation. “Our team’s commitment to the safety and well-being of our customers, colleagues, and communities has been at the forefront of each and every action taken to restore service and to accelerate recovery from this storm.”
“More than 1,200 employees, contractors, and volunteers have been engaged in this restoration effort, and just as we provide mutual assistance to companies in times of need, we are grateful for the mutual assistance we received during this restoration effort,” saidJeffry M. Householder, president, Florida Public Utilities Company. “Being without power for any period of time is challenging. We thank our customers for their continued patience and support while our crews work to safely repair our system as a result of this unprecedented storm,” Mr. Householder added.
The utility requested and the Florida Public Service Commission recently approved two proposals by FPU. One is to temporarily suspend the remittance of electric bills to customers who were impacted by the hurricane and a second is to provide limited financial assistance getting customer-owned electric equipment repaired or replaced to customers who cannot receive power from FPU as a result of damage sustained by Hurricane Michael. In addition, FPU has suspended the assessment of late fees for customers in the affected area.
Chesapeake Utilities is primarily a natural gas supplier but purchased Florida Public Utilities and its electric and gas operations several years ago. The company also operates on Delmarva and in Ohio.
In Thursday trading, Chesapeake’s stock price was about $8 below its five-year high.