Utilities

Hurricane season is fast approaching, which means summer is nearly here, as well. For South Florida, this signals increased attention on storm forecasts and applying lessons learned when it comes to evacuation and emergency plans, storm shutters and the possibility of losing power during the most sweltering time of the year.

Last year, more than 700,000 homes had their power knocked out as Hurricane Irma arrived in South Florida. It hit the lower Keys as a Category 4 storm but slowed down to a Cat. 1 as it made its way up the Florida peninsula. 

A federal agency says Tampa Electric Company ignored its own rules when performing a dangerous maintenance job at one of its plants that left five workers dead.

On Thursday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration slapped the company with its most serious citation — a willful violation.

Government watchdog group Integrity Florida says the fox is guarding the henhouse when it comes to Florida’s utilities and their regulators.  The group wants to insulate the Public Service Commission from the political fray in the state Legislature.

Even though the Lower Florida Keys took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, the storm did not disconnect the Keys power line to the mainland.

Much of Key West, at the end of the line, had power within days of the storm — much faster than many places on the mainland, which had much weaker winds from Irma.

Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala wants Florida’s utility companies to stop contributing to campaigns this election cycle and invest in improving equipment instead.

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