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All of the eastern part of FPL's territory is essentially restored -- 99.9 percent of customers from the Florida/Georgia border to south of Miami have power tonight
- Crews remain focused on restoring individual outages that require additional attention and extensive manual labor
- Thousands of restoration personnel continue to restore hardest-hit areas
- Customers should continue to heed safety precautions
JUNO BEACH, Fla., Sept. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As of this evening, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has restored service to nearly all of its 4.4 million customers, or nearly 99 percent, impacted by Hurricane Irma.
"As we have said from the beginning, the latter part of any restoration, particularly one of this scope and magnitude, is always the most challenging," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Massive downed trees, flooded areas, tornado damage and other significant obstacles continue to challenge our more than 28,000 men and women who have been working 16-hour days in the blazing summer heat and humidity to restore service. We sincerely thank those still without power for what little patience and understanding may remain and assure you that we are working around-the-clock to get the lights and air conditioning back on.
"We also recognize that the crews working to restore service may not always be readily visible given work locations may be behind homes or in tree-lined areas. This can create a false impression that we are not attacking the situation, which couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, in Miami-Dade County, we will tomorrow have more than 6,500 restoration workers, including 2,000 who will be deployed to Southwest Florida as soon as they finish their work. These crews will finish up the few remaining jobs in areas such as Coral Gables, which for many years, has placed restrictions on our efforts to trim trees and harden our electric system. Unfortunately, for our customers in that area, they are now paying the price in terms of extended outages. Needless to say, we are anxious to complete this part of the process so that we can finally move our forces across the state and complete restoration for our Southwest customers."
In the North, service has been restored to essentially all customers in Suwannee, Columbia, Alachua, Union, Bradford, Baker, Nassau, Duval, Clay, Putnam, St. Johns, Flagler and Volusia counties – meaning more than 99.9 percent of customers who were affected by Irma are restored.
In Central Florida, service has been restored to essentially all customers in Seminole, Orange, Brevard, Osceola, Indian River, St. Lucie, Okeechobee and Martin counties.
Along Florida's eastern coast, service has been restored to essentially all customers in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Miami-Dade County is 99.7 percent restored.
In Southwest Florida, Manatee, Hardee, Sarasota and Charlotte are essentially restored. Power restoration is 87 percent complete or higher in DeSoto, Highlands, Glades and Lee counties. Hendry County is 90 percent restored and 83 percent of customers are restored in Collier County, where Irma made landfall and inflicted the worst damage.
Restoration continues on track for all counties. Exceptions could occur in areas throughout Florida that were impacted by tornadoes, severe flooding, and heavy tree and debris damage. There may also be instances in which a customer's home or business is structurally damaged and unable to safely accept power. In addition, some of the outages may be the result of normal, day-to-day activity and not related to Irma. Customers who live in a county where power is essentially restored, but do not currently have electricity, should report their outage at FPL.com/outage.
Customers may experience outages over the coming weeks and months due to weakened trees and branches that could fall impacting power lines and electric equipment. In addition, significant wind speeds have loosened electrical connections throughout the system that can lead to increased outages following the storm. Some FPL customers have already experienced repeated outages since Irma struck due to this situation. FPL crews will continue to make needed repairs as they are identified.
FPL has established walk-up sites for our customers in several communities. These sites provide charging stations, water, Wi-Fi, ice, community service and restoration information, and customer service assistance. Please visit FPL.com/powertracker to see locations and times.
Restoration challenges in the hardest-hit areas
"Our crews are up against extraordinary circumstances as they work street-by-street and house-by-house to restore power," said Silagy. "In some cases, they must carry heavy equipment through waist deep-water, only then to have to hoist and maneuver equipment into place as they climb 30-foot power poles. In other instances, workers have suffered dog bites, mosquitoes and bee stings, including a swarm that inflicted more than 500 bee stings to one worker. These are just a few examples of the operating conditions our restoration workers are finding themselves in."
Tree damage, dense vegetation and limited access continue to be a challenge in many parts along Florida's East Coast. In Palmetto Bay, for example, three poles needed to be replaced after fallen trees crashed into them. Due to space constraints, crews were forced to use a large crane to lift a power pole over homes and into place.
"This is a story that is repeating itself across our service territory as we grapple with extremely large trees and related debris," said Silagy. "As a result, we have doubled-down on our resources to tackle this challenge head-on. We have more than twice as many tree crews working this restoration effort as compared with Hurricane Wilma in 2005."
FPL will continue to communicate restoration information through the media and online via FPL.com, Facebook and Twitter. Customers should call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) only to report conditions such as downed power lines or sparking electrical equipment. Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
Be certain your home or business is ready to receive power
Please stay safe and help us keep crews safe
How to stay informed
Visit FPL.com/storm for the latest restoration information.
Florida Power & Light Company
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company
For further information: Florida Power & Light Company, Media Line: 561-694-4442, @FPL_Newsroom