Winn-Dixie Charges Up for Active Hurricane Season

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Winn-Dixie Charges Up for Active Hurricane Season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Just days after Tropical Storm Barry roared as a strong start to the 2007 hurricane season, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. said it is equipping selected stores with generators that can power an entire store in the event of a power outage.

The 66 stores being outfitted with the diesel-powered 500-kilowatt generators are in areas that have been affected by power outages associated with hurricanes and tropical storms in recent years.

"The installation of these powerful generators allows us to be better prepared and serve our customers in the event of a storm," said Shawn Sloan, Winn-Dixie's director of maintenance and energy management, in a statement. "They will enable our stores to remain open and functional in the aftermath of a hurricane or tropical storm, even if local power has not been restored."

The generators are capable of running an entire store, including coolers and freezers. All of the company's 521 stores are equipped with smaller generators, but they are not powerful enough to run an entire store or keep coolers and freezers operating, Winn-Dixie noted.

"In past years, we used truck-based generators to temporarily power stores until local utilities were restored," said Sloan. "Those units will be used, if needed, during this storm season. We are assessing the feasibility of outfitting additional stores with the large generators in the coming years. It is an extremely expensive proposition."

Winn-Dixie has already outfitted its regional distribution centers in Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Montgomery, Ala., and Hammond, La. with generators. Company officials said they expect to have back-up generators installed by July at other selected stores.