Natural gas is Florida’s vital energy source fueling homes and businesses before, during and after hurricanes and tropical storms, and generating more than 75% of the state’s electricity year-round.
Florida is hit by more hurricanes than any other state in the nation, almost twice as many as Texas, the second most hurricane-prone state in the U.S. Of the 292 hurricanes striking the U.S. since 1851, 120 have made landfall in Florida.
Our Sunshine State is vulnerable to hurricanes because of its location as a tropical peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Given its hot, humid climate and geography, Florida is vulnerable on both coasts to storms and hurricanes originating from the warm ocean waters of the Caribbean and the coast of Africa. According to the Florida Climate Center, all of Florida’s coastline has been hit by at least one hurricane since 1850.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30. However, tropical storms and severe weather events can occur anytime in Florida.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 2022 to be the seventh consecutive year of above-average to severe hurricane activity with more than 14 to 21 storms, including six to ten major hurricanes with winds of 74 miles per hour (mph).
Historically, Florida has experienced widespread devastation and power outages due to hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Irma in 2017, and Hurricane Michael in 2018 ― some of the strongest Atlantic storms on record.
During Hurricane Irma, more than 75% of the state experienced power outages due to severe damage of Florida’s power grid and power lines. More than 12 million people and businesses were without electricity for air conditioning, water heating, cooking, and equipment operation.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma, 12 patients at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, Florida, died due to oppressive heat because of a lack of backup power generation for air conditioning.
As a result, on March 26, 2018, Florida legislated that all nursing homes and assisted living facilities must have emergency backup power generators in case of electricity outages to maintain safe indoor air quality and living conditions for the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
During these types of catastrophic weather events, Peoples Gas continues to provide reliable, affordable natural gas service throughout Florida for residents, businesses, transportation, and critical care facilities.
When electricity power outages occur, natural gas fuels emergency backup power generators and other equipment for vital community and healthcare facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire departments, emergency shelters, public utilities, and grocery stores.
Natural gas emergency standby generators can be sized to power air conditioning, refrigeration, water heating, cooking equipment, indoor and outdoor lighting, and other appliances to keep homes, businesses, and critical facilities operating reliably and safely.
Because of its resilient, underground pipeline infrastructure, the delivery of natural gas is relatively unaffected during severe weather events. Peoples Gas provides affordable, clean natural gas to reliably power the appliances and equipment necessary to keep homes and businesses operating across the state virtually 24/7/365.
As the largest natural gas distributor in Florida, serving more than 445,000 customers, Peoples Gas invests more than $200 million every year to improve and expand our extensive infrastructure ― a critical asset during storm season.
“The safety of our people, communities, and customers throughout Florida is our ongoing commitment every day, and especially during storm season, said Peoples Gas President Helen Wesley. “We continue to expand and innovate our nearly 100% reliable, sustainable natural gas delivery system and continuously train to operate and maintain it safely to meet the needs of our growing state.”
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