FPL says power restoration will be slow, but steady

FPL says power restoration will be slow, but steady

FPL says power restoration will be slow, but steady

It is also working to secure additional support and resources from out-of-state utilities and electrical contracting companies.

Florida Power & Light estimates it will have electricity restored to most customers in South Florida by the end of the weekend.

In total about 4.5 million FPL customers were affected by the storm, with more than 1.7 million having their service restored already, mostly by automated devices.

But Gould said those outage numbers will soon start to shrink.

FPL posted on Twitter that residents on the west coast of Florida can expect power restoration by September 22 - 11 days after the storm hit Sarasota, though areas hit with tornadoes, flooding or extreme damage could take longer. "That said, we anticipate that much of the electric system in Southwest Florida will require a complete rebuild, which could take weeks".

"This is the first time that our entire 27,000-square-mile territory, 35 counties all in all, have been impacted by Hurricane Irma or any storm", Gould said.

FPL said it would first fix any damage to power plants, transmission lines and substations, then prioritize critical facilities such as hospitals and water treatment plants. Fixes to main distribution lines and restoration of power to critical facilities take priority over some residential neighborhoods. The electricity company would then turn its attention to areas that are home to supermarkets, gas stations and other community services. However, the state's long coastline and the associated danger of storm surge and seawater incursion make it impractical to run lines beneath the surface in some areas.

The utility invested almost $3 billion to upgrade its electric grid since 2005, and Gould said it is paying off. Power feeders that were hardened are performing about 30 percent better than non-hardened ones.

Possible exceptions include areas hit by tornadoes or those badly damaged. "We are working on it but do not have that at this time".

It may not seem like it if you sweated through the night and are anxious about food supplies, but power is coming back online in South Florida as the region begins its recovery after Hurricane Irma.

"We are in the process now of doing final checks on a few of them; we will be bringing those up", FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy told reporters.

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