Wauchula: A Regional Cooperative Success Story
Federal and State Generator Programs
As part of their annual hurricane preparations, many Florida communities have acquired portable generators with grants from the Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund (EMPATF) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
After Hurricane Charley, distributors of these generators received emergency calls from recipients asking what other communities received EMPATF grants and acquired similar generators. FEMA had not told recipient communities who the other recipients were. Without that information, local communities in crisis had to rely on suppliers (if they could be reached by telephone), and on friends who worked for utilities in nearby towns.
Another source of portable generators for local utilities is Florida’s State Negotiated Price Program (SNPP). “SNAPP is a pre-approved pricing program,” says David West, vice president of Alternative Power Sources in Plant City. “It allows cities and counties to acquire generators without having to go out for bids.”
Alternative Power Sources’ service area extends from the Gulf Coast of peninsular Florida to the Central Ridge, and from Alligator Alley (Interstate Highway 75) north to Ocala. The firm distributes Cummins, Generac, Onan, Pramac, and Tradewind generators.
“We maintain quarterly and annual service contracts on the portable generators we sell to municipal utilities,” says West. As necessary, we visit their sites. Each generator is exercised under load for half an hour each week.”
About a dozen of Alternative Power Sources’ client communities suffered from Hurricane Charley, with the most severe damage at Avon Park, Sebring, Wauchula, and Zolfo Springs.
“Central Florida municipalities are my core business,” West says. “Following the hurricane and a call for help from Wauchula, I focused my time and energy on finding resources and helping communities share them.”