WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As of 5 p.m. EDT, more than 5.5 million customers are without power across Florida and in parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina as a result of Hurricane Irma. At Irma's peak on September 11, there were more than 7.8 million customer outages.
"The industry's Irma response is one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in U.S. history," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "Today alone, the number of workers dedicated to the Irma response grew by almost 10,000 as initial damage assessments were completed. Now, almost 60,000 workers from more than 250 investor-owned electric companies, public power utilities, and electric cooperatives—from across the United States and Canada—are supporting the Irma restoration efforts."
Given the size and strength of Irma, infrastructure systems will need to be rebuilt completely in some parts of Florida before power can be restored.
Responding to major events like Irma requires significant coordination among the public and private sectors, and strong industry-government coordination is critical. As we did throughout Hurricane Harvey, EEI and the electric power industry are working through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to coordinate with the federal government, other segments of the industry, and critical infrastructure operators.
"Earlier today, the ESCC leadership held a call with senior executives from EEI's member companies and from across our industry to discuss additional lineworker and vegetation management crews that will be needed to restore power as assessments are completed in some of the hardest hit areas of Florida," said Kuhn. "This was an extremely productive call, and we already are making significant progress in securing additional crews. This will help to speed restoration times, and I truly appreciate the support of the entire industry in this effort."
Ensuring the safety of customers, communities, and workers is the electric power industry's highest priority. As always, customers should stay away from downed power lines and always treat fallen wires and anything touching them as though they are energized. Customers using generators should plug appliances directly into the generator and follow all safety warnings.
"We know that being without electricity creates hardships, and we are grateful for our customers' patience as electric companies work day and night to assess damage and to restore power where and when conditions are safe to do so," said Kuhn. "Companies will continue their storm restoration efforts around the clock until the last customer who can receive power is restored."
EEI's Storm Center is a resource for real-time information and explanations of the restoration process. It also includes a map to company outage centers. Customers can follow EEI on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.
It is important to remember that outages measure customer meters impacted, not the number of individuals without power. As Irma unfolded, some customers experienced more than one outage.
EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, and operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a whole, the electric power industry supports more than 7 million jobs in communities across the United States. In addition to our U.S. members, EEI has more than 60 international electric companies, with operations in more than 90 countries, as International Members, and hundreds of industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members. Organized in 1933, EEI provides public policy leadership, strategic business intelligence, and essential conferences and forums.
SOURCE Edison Electric Institute