JEA assess impact from Irma; costs total $30 million

Ken Amaro provides an update on the status of JEA's efforts to restore power to the areas affected by Irma.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -  Management with JEA is assessing its performance after Hurricane Irma and so far, they give the utility company an A+.

Even so, there were some lessons learned, tough lessons, especially with communication.

"We called repeatedly," said customer Bob Swing

Swing's electric service is back, but he is still upset with the JEA's communication with him after the storm.

"They said we have electricity when we don't have electricity," he said.

He followed the information posted on the JEA's outage map. And he called.

"I feel like whenever I got an email from them or a text message, whatever any kind of communication, I was getting from them it was generic," he said.

The poor communication has been the bane of complaints.

"There was just a number of stories," said Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry.

Curry applauded the JEA for its untiring effort to restore power to its 280,000 customers, but was critical of its communication issues.

"They need to have information that they capture and communicate that to their customers," he said.

The JEA had its hands full after Irma but Paul McElroy, CEO, said they stuck to the plan.

"We were always focused on the plan," he said.

Among the challenges: lift stations were flooded, generators had to be repaired on the spot; there were five broken water mains, and transmission lines had to be replaced.

"I think we have lessons learned on every aspect of the storm," he said.

McElroy said they  will work on improving communications with its customers.

"We apologize for the communication issues," he said. "The operational issues in terms of moving forward we compare very favorable with the rest of the state." 

Bob Swing learned the JEA is changing its communications strategy going forward and said it will make a difference for the utility's customers after the next storm.

The JEA incurred  $30 million in costs directly related to Irma.

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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