March 23, 2018

'Power, power, power': Millions in Florida swelter through outages after Irma

17 September 2017, 08:10 | Taylor George

'Power, power, power': Millions in Florida swelter through outages after Irma

Utilities in US Southeast restore power to nearly half of those hit by Irma

- In a state built on air conditioning, millions of Florida residents now want to know one thing: When will the power - and the air conditioning - be back on?

As of Saturday morning, FPL said it had restored power to 280,460 customers in Sarasota-Manatee who lost power from Irma, but 71,090 were still in the dark.

Power restoration is 78 percent complete in Sarasota and Manatee counties, FPL said, and 90 percent of homes and businesses knocked out by Hurricane Irma should have electricity by Monday.

Hurricane Irma's march across Florida and into the Southeast triggered one of the bigger blackouts in USA history, plunging as many as 13 million people into the dark as the storm dragged down power lines and blew out transformers.

Kraft said none of Georgia Power's personnel or crews were in Texas, responding to Hurricane Harvey's aftermath, at the time Irma struck Georgia.

The deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills stirred outrage at what many saw as a preventable tragedy, and heightened concerns about the vulnerability of the state's large elderly population amid widespread, lingering power outages. The crews will travel to communities and work until residences and businesses in those areas are hooked back up to the power grid. More than 118,500 customers had been restored by Friday morning - 19 percent of its service - but 33,000 were still out of power.

Many of you are asking, waiting and wondering when exactly your power will come back on.

At the news briefing, News Channel Five's Alyssa Hyman asked, "Can you explain to people how you make these priorities and where, specifically in our viewing area at least, are your crews are working to address first and foremost?" In Southwest Florida, where the damage is most extensive, restoration is more challenging and now estimated to be completed by September 22.

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"We apologize for any kind of miscommunications or cross communications", Gould said.

Immediately after a storm, we know if main power lines have been damaged.

"Power, power, power", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said recently.

Sawhill expressed "a special thanks to our customers for their patience and the families of our employees, especially as we continue the restoration efforts throughout Georgia because of Hurricane Irma".

"That is a challenge we're facing", Kraft said.

Florida Power and Light said it has mobilized the largest workforce it has ever assembled to get power restored to its Florida: 21,500.

Meanwhile, roughly 6.4 million people in the state remained without power as of Wednesday afternoon, down from 13 million. In the case of Irma, due to the increased preparation by the county after last year's storm, Dinneen said Volusia was not one of the worst affected counties in the state.

FPL even paved a road at the airport after Hurricane Matthew to get more trucks out and work more efficiently.

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