Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Local hydro crews heading to Florida to help restore power after Irma

Local hydro crews heading to Florida to help restore power after Irma

The utility has marshaled 19,500 workers who are spanning the state to assess damage and begin the process of restoring power.

West Coast - estimated power restoration by EOD 9/22, possible exception in areas hit by tornadoes, flooding & severe damage.

"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. "If customers are calling us that they don't have power, we know they don't have power". "Regardless, this will be a lengthy restoration effort".

That's what Gus Beyersdorf, 40, and his colleague Nick Jensen, 32, utility workers from Wisconsin, found out while inspecting power lines in Florida on Monday.

In Florida, the state's biggest electric company said its outages dipped to 3.3 million from a peak of 3.6 million earlier on Monday.

The company outlined its priorities when it comes to restoring power, and it is working closely with local emergency management officials and public safety agencies in Florida. Duke Energy outages totaled 1.2 million in Florida, with almost 100,000 customers restored in the early stages by midday Monday, the company said.

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At its St Lucie nuclear plant about 120 miles (190 km) north of Miami, FPL reduced power at Unit 1 because of salt buildup from Irma in the switch-yard, NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said.

First, FPL gets its generators back online, then it hones in on fixing critical infrastructure like hospitals or 911 call centers, and then businesses and homes.

"For customers in the hardest hit areas that require rebuilding the system, this may take a week or more", Duke Energy said.

Officials at Florida Power & Light Co. say they can not estimate when power will be restored, but they admit that customers on the harder-hit west coast will be without electricity "for a much longer period of time", ranging from days to weeks.

Counties affected by Florida Power & Light outages. Up to 20,000 Gulf Power customers could lose power from the storm. He is also co-chair of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, which coordinates the utility industry and government response to disasters and cyberthreats.

"We've never had that many outages, and I don't think any utility in the country ever has", FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy said at a news conference on Monday.

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