KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, FL – As Tropical Depression Beryl slowly moves away from North Florida, Clay Electric’s restoration efforts are winding down as crews handle a few scattered and isolated power outages.
Beryl moved ashore at Jacksonville Beach the evening of Sunday, May 27, as a tropical storm and the gusty winds began causing power outages in the eastern side of the cooperative’s service area.
Around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, a tree fell in the Doctors Lake Estates subdivision in the Orange Park area of Clay County, pulling lines down, snapping two poles and heavily damaging two others. As a result, nearly 4,000 members were left in the dark. Two construction crews from the central office in Keystone Heights were called in to assist Orange Park district personnel in restoring service. By around 2 a.m., the repairs were complete and power was back on.
“I was real proud of our guys,” said Don Clark, Orange Park District line supervisor. “They worked hard in the wind and rain to get the lines back up. They were worried about other trees coming down on top of them as they worked,” Clark said.
In response to the growing number of power outages, Clay Electric brought in extra personnel in its Keystone Call Center to handle the increasing number of outage calls. Extra personnel manned the central Control Center in Keystone, and several district offices opened to help with restoration efforts and crew dispatch duties.
As Beryl moved inland, scattered power outages spread to the cooperative’s central and western areas. Nearly all the outages occurred due to tree limbs breaking off and falling onto power lines, or trees falling over in the gusty winds. Heavy rain likely contributed to some trees falling over, as scattered reports from rain gauges showed in excess of seven inches falling in some sections of the service area.
“For the most part, Beryl was a rain maker and not a big outage maker,” said Wayne Mattox, manager of the cooperative’s Communications Division.
“Our ongoing effort to maintain clear rights-of-way around our lines pays dividends when storms like Beryl head our way,” he said.
Mattox noted Clay Electric personnel endured some nasty weather conditions to get the power back on.
“Our guys are dedicated to getting our members’ service back up in a safe and timely manner. And they appreciate the kind words expressed by our members, who thanked them for their hard work this weekend.”
Mattox said it’s that time of year when tropical storms and hurricanes can threaten our area.
“With the start of the hurricane season coming up (June 1), members should review their storm preparation plan, gather essential supplies, and review preparedness information available at clayelectric.com,” Mattox said.
Members should call 1-888-434-9844 to report a power outage.