Gulf Power Company

Gulf Power Company

North Escambia County is farm country, and a different type of farm is blooming. Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center is going up on 550 acres, with a second farm nearby also on the drawing board.

“We are now part of Florida Power & Light; we’re drawing on their solar progress, to install 30 million solar panels across the state by 2030,” said Gulf Power spokeswoman Kimberly Blair. “The two solar sites that we have in Escambia County are part of the ’30 by 30’ plan.”

Gulf Power

Gulf Power Company is partnering with the City of Pensacola, on a solar power demonstration project using public property. And the project is drawing more than just casual attention.

The city has a number of solar projects on the drawing board, according to Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson, to provide a showcase for such energy and how to use it.

Gulf Power Co.

Personnel and equipment from Gulf Power Company will assist in the restoration of electricity in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

The contingent is scheduled to leave Pensacola Thursday morning, according to Sarah Gatewood at the utility.

“We have identified Gulf Power employees and contractors that can head west to help with power restoration after Hurricane Laura passes through,” Gatewood said.

In all, about 180 people from Gulf Power are forming the first wave leaving Thursday for east Texas.

Gulf Power


Wednesday is Gulf Power Company’s line worker appreciation day, honoring the men and women who brave the elements to keep the juice flowing.

For Robert Duke, the desire to work as a lineman began early on.

“There was a restaurant not far from where I lived, and I would see a lot of the Gulf Power linemen like after a storm they would eat there,” said Duke. “I would always talk to those guys and they were real nice. And I was always like, ‘Man, I’d like to be a lineman.”

Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Agriculture Sec. Nikki Fried visited the western Panhandle on Thursday, to get first-hand information on the wildfires that have destroyed property and forced evacuations. Fried met with local officials and the media.

“Thank you to the brave men and women who have been here since Monday that have been working around-the-clock to save lives, to save homes,” said Agriculture Sec. Nikki Fried, who met with local officials Thursday about the 2,000-acre Five Mile Swamp blaze near Milton.


If it’s mid- to late August, then we’re heading into the busiest time of the hurricane season. Coastal residents are urged to stay alert from now until at least the end of the season on Nov. 30.

“There had been some notable adjustments that have been made by some of the lead forecasters in our circles,” says Meteorologist Jeff Huffman at the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network – FPREN. That includes NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NextEra Energy

There’s a new era dawning for Gulf Power Company, which begins 2019 with a new owner.

NextEra Energy – based in Juno Beach – announced Tuesday it had completed the deal with Atlanta-based Southern Company for Gulf Power -- the final piece of the $6.5 billion puzzle.

This week’s cold snap could be considered a taste of the winter chill expected to hit the Florida Panhandle. And the chill, in turn, means higher utility bills for most.

Gulf Power spokeswoman Kimberly Blair says their 460,000 customers need to begin preparing for the winter months if they haven’t done so already.

"Stay warm, but also keep your energy bills as low as possible; there’s [sic] things that customers can do that are free, or very low cost,” Blair says. "We know that everyone’s on a budget.”

National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Michael is approaching the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend as a Category-3 monster, with landfall expected (Wednesday). WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody reports last-minute preparations were being made Tuesday, including mandatory evacuations as far west as Pensacola.

The Escambia County Emergency Operations Center spent Tuesday at Level-2 – or partial activation – tracking Michael’s trek through the Gulf of Mexico.

NextEra Energy

Florida Power and Light’s footprint across Florida could be getting bigger, through a proposed deal in which its parent firm would buy Pensacola-based Gulf Power Company as part of a $6.5 billion package.

Jim Robo, Chairman and CEO of NextEra Energy, spoke with shareholders on Monday.

“NextEra has agreed to acquire Gulf Power; Florida City Gas, and ownerships stakes in the Oleander and Stanton natural as power plants,” Robo said in a conference call.

NextEra will acquire 100 percent of the Oleander plant near Cocoa, and 65 percent of Stanton near Orlando.

In a major move in the state’s utility industry, the parent company of Florida Power and Light is acquiring Gulf Power Company as part of a $6.5 billion dollar deal.

NextEra Energy plans to buy Gulf Power, along with ownership interests in two Southern Company power plants – Oleander near Cocoa, and Stanton Energy Center near Orlando. NextEra wants to buy a 100 percent interest in Plant Oleander, and 65 percent of Stanton.

Florida City Gas rounds out the package. It serves about 110 thousand natural-gas customers in Miami-Dade, Brevard, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

It began as the annual hurricane drill by Gulf Power Company Wednesday morning. But participants were thrown a curveball that a major league pitcher would have been proud of.

The original scenario: Hurricane Irma-2, a Category-3 storm, is bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

“When we got into the briefing room, we found out that the hurricane had made a [sic] easterly turn and was going out into the Atlantic,” said Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers. “However, at four a.m. this morning, as part of the drill, we had a cyberattack. And so everyone had to shift gears.”

Beginning in April, Gulf Power Company’s 460,000 customers will get a break in their electric bills.

Approved this week by the Florida Public Service Commission, the $103 million reduction comes after Congress and the Trump administration passed a tax cut package in December, which includes reducing the federal corporate income-tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Gulf Power Company

Gulf Power Company will spend $83 million over five years, to upgrade its electricity grid in downtown Pensacola.

The project is part of an overall, $225 million makeover across the utility’s 460,000 customer service area. According to spokesman Jeff Rogers, the current system is well beyond retirement age.

“While there’s a very sophisticated underground network in downtown Pensacola, parts of it are 70 years gold,” said Rogers. “They’ve been well maintained and updated, but it is time for a complete overhaul.”

  Round two of frigid weather in the Florida Panhandle closely resembles that from a couple of weeks ago. But there is some light, and warmth, at the end of the tunnel.

Precipitation from the southernmost reaches of Winter Storm Inga led to a number of closings in northwest Florida the past couple of days: schools, roads, bridges and overpasses. Meteorologist Jeff Huffman at the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network says the silver lining is that the rest of the winter mix is tracking to the north and east.