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17 Setiembre 2017, 07:37 | Bibiana Flor
10 Percent of Flagler Residents Expected to Lose Power, Millions More Across Florida
Utilities in the U.S. Southeast returned power to nearly half of the homes and businesses knocked out by Hurricane Irma, leaving about 4.3 million customers in the dark as of midday Wednesday, in one of the biggest restoration efforts in U.S. history.
Keys residents were just beginning to return but most of the low-lying archipelago south of Miami remains closed to traffic as authorities assessed conditions. Yes, you can find out how many overall homes have been restored down to the county level, but how your individual home is faring is completely unknown.
Following Hurricane Irma, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, affected utility companies have launched large-scale efforts to assess damage caused by the storm and restore power to customers.
The outage numbers are declining - power was restored to 38,000 local customers in the past 24 hours - but FPL officials say they are starting some of the toughest work in the restoration process, where work crews can spend hours turning on the lights to a handful of homes. All 21,800 FPL customers in the county lost power on Monday, according to the FPL outage map.
By Sunday at 11 a.m., Rob Gould, vice president for communications at Florida Power and Light (which provides power to 58,000 customers in Flagler County) was reporting that almost 2 million people had experienced power cuts in the state.
"We have the largest restoration workforce in USA history responding to the worst storm in our company's history", Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, said. "Regardless, this will be a lengthy restoration effort". Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas have had widespread power outages, too.
Georgia Power reminds customers that damage to the meter box, or other component the utility company is not responsible for, must be fixed before service can be reconnected.
Rogers added that Gulf Power sent additional line workers from the western end of the company's service area to Bay County to ensure there were enough resources to get the lights back on quickly and safely for Gulf Power's customers.
An unusually large hurricane, Irma left an exceptional swath of damage on both Florida coasts and almost everywhere in between. "We have enough gasoline to get out of the auto to run the generator probably for several days, but without power, we'll be in a little trouble". As of Monday morning, roughly 4.4 million of the company's almost 5 million customers were without power, according to a company outage map. He asked customers to continue to have patients as in some cases, workers are going house to house to restore power.
A preliminary assessment of Irma's damage, however, shows damage is not as extensive as originally anticipated - not even on the west coast, which took a direct hit from Irma - FPL representatives said. In addition, with the hurricane carrying such high winds this time around, there are more downed trees and utility lines affecting power repairs. "IBEW President Stephenson reinforced that the crews dedicated to the restoration are proud to be part of the team and to be supporting the Irma response". Georgia Power has said they have approximately 5,500 field personnel prepared to respond to outages.
"Power, power, power", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said recently.
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