As we move further into hurricane season, Mississippi Power is on standby, getting ready for whatever Mother Nature may throw our way. Monday, News 25 toured the company's Operations Center to see how Mississippi Power plans to react to a potential hurricane.
The Mississippi Power Operations Center in Gulfport is up and running. The center actively fields about 2,500 calls a day from customers asking about everything from outages to bill statements, and their Storm Center has already been put to the test this year to deal with severe weather in north Mississippi. Randall Pinkston, Storm Director for Mississippi Power, says, "We open it any time that we have a multiple day storm, and a few months back was the last time we opened it, and of course we had some major tornadoes to come through Hattiesburg, and of course Isaac was a couple other times we've used it recently in the past year or two."
Even though the Storm Center focuses on hurricanes, Mississippi Power knows that even severe thunderstorms can mean power outages, flooding, and struggles for their customers. Jeff Franklin, the Vice President of Customer Services Organization, says, "Smaller storms need a detailed plan as well. For example in Hattiesburg, that plan was totally different when the tornado came through town than a major storm coming in on the Coast. At the Operations Center, each department has its own desk so that Mississippi Power can come up with a unified plan for each storm.
Pinkston also says, “We bring in all our key decision makers and we talk amongst ourselves. We talk at a southern company level, seeing what does Gulf see, what does Alabama see." Mississippi Power sees themselves as part of the emergency response team during a storm. Turning the lights on is often the first step in recovery. It's a job they take seriously.
Steve Craig, the Transmission General Manager, says, "It’s a duty, it's a responsibility, it's a desire. You don't do this if you don't have a desire to impact people's lives in a positive manner."