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CUs largely unaffected by Florida power outage
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (2/28/08)--Though some reported losing power, credit unions in Florida were largely unaffected by a blackout Tuesday afternoon that left roughly three million people in the state without electricity. GTE FCU, Tampa, lost power at four of its branches--Hudson, Lake Mary, Brandon and Bradenton. The outages lasted anywhere from 45 minutes to almost three hours, said Traci Germain, GTE senior vice president of marketing. The branches did not have generators, so they closed during the time they were without power, she added. Miami Postal Service CU experienced a power outage of about 20 minutes but was up and running soon after, CEO Jace Reyes told News Now. Achieva CU, Largo, lost power but the credit union’s generator kicked on immediately, said Sharon Woods, executive assistant to CEO Debbie Rogers. The credit union used the generator for about 30 minutes before power was restored. Southeast Corporate FCU received a handful of calls regarding some service interruptions from its member credit unions, “but nothing major,” said Sandy Baker, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Southeast Corporate. The corporate handled some transactions manually but it was no problem, she said. “We saw no serious impact,” she said. “There were no major issues. They were all up and running this morning.” The phone and e-mail volume was very low, she added. “Had it been a major business disruption, we would have heard a lot more.” No credit unions contacted the Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) with problems regarding the blackout, said Amy Jowers, FCUL vice president of communications. The blackout was a “small inconvenience” for Florida credit unions compared with the natural disasters they normally prepare for, such as hurricanes, Jowers said. “It was a little blip on their radars,” she said. “Now they’re back on course.” News Now also contacted Fairwinds CU, Orlando; Florida Central CU, Tampa; and State Employees CU, Jacksonville, but the credit unions reported no major problems. Tuesday’s blackout affected residents in Southern Florida--including Orlando, Miami, Tampa and several other cities. It was caused by a fire at a Dade County transmission substation operated by Florida Power and Light Co. The problems caused transmission lines and substations to stop service, resulting in the shutdown of two major power plants (The Wall Street Journal Feb. 27).
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