JUNO BEACH, Fla., Sept. 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of restoration personnel continue working around the clock to restore the remaining customers of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) without power due to Hurricane Irma. With most major lines and critical infrastructure now restored, more and more crews are transitioning to tackle smaller groups of outages in thousands of neighborhoods across the state.
With additional drone and crew assessment data from the field, FPL has refined its initial estimated times of restoration to the county-level. Key updates:
- Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties and the Treasure Coast are roughly 90 percent restored as of 9 p.m. and are expected to be essentially complete by Sunday evening as initially estimated.
- Broward County is more than 80 percent restored with 90 percent restoration expected tomorrow and at least 95 percent completion Sunday and essentially complete Monday. Miami-Dade County is nearly 80 percent restored and should be at least 90 percent restored Sunday, 95 percent Monday and complete on Tuesday. Outages that extend past the weekend are clustered in coastal sections where higher winds, tornadoes and heavy salt-water contamination were experienced and areas where the tree damage is exponentially worse than most of the rest of South Florida. A map of these exceptions will be posted at FPL.com/powertracker.
- Monroe County, where Irma made landfall, is presenting difficult restoration challenges, but nearly 80 percent of customers served by FPL have been restored thus far. More than 90 percent should be completed by Sunday with the remaining outages restored Monday and Tuesday.
- Brevard County is approximately 80 percent restored and will reach at least 90 percent over the weekend with full completion expected Monday.
- Columbia County is 87 percent restored and on track to be completed Sunday.
- FPL customers in Clay and Highlands counties impacted by Irma are more than two-thirds restored and should be 90 percent restored by Sunday night with full completion Monday.
- In Seminole, Putnam, Baker, Bradford, Union, Alachua and Suwannee counties, in addition to coastal counties from Volusia north through Nassau, restoration is more than 78 percent complete and projected to reach at least 90 percent over the weekend, 95 percent on Monday and complete restoration on Tuesday.
- In Sarasota and Manatee counties, restoration is more than 78 percent complete and are projected to be completed several days earlier than originally estimated. They are now both on track to reach 90 percent restoration Monday and be essentially complete on Wednesday.
- Restoration is also progressing more quickly than initially estimated in Charlotte, DeSoto and Hendry counties, where more than 80 percent of FPL customers have been restored. Restoration is projected to reach 90 percent Tuesday and wrap up on Wednesday.
- Lee and Glades counties are more than 60 percent restored and are projected to be completed about a day earlier than initially estimated, with 90 percent restored by Wednesday night and the remaining customers restored by Thursday night.
- Collier County, where Irma made landfall and inflicted the worst damage, is more than half restored and continues on track to be completed as initially estimated, with 90 percent restored by Thursday and fully complete Friday.
- All customers served by FPL in Duval, Hardee, Orange and Osceola counties have been restored.
Significant challenges caused by trees and debris damaging lines
As the restoration effort moves into neighborhoods, crews are finding unexpected damage in the hardest-hit areas, including whole trees pulling down power lines and dense vegetation blocking roadways, preventing crews and equipment from getting in to make the necessary repairs.
"Irma's fierce winds, tornadoes and flooding, took a heavy toll on our state and our service territory," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Florida is a beautiful place to call home; however, the majestic trees and lush vegetation wreak havoc on electric systems in severe weather. During a typical afternoon thunderstorm, we often see downed branches or tree limbs. However, during Irma, whole trees and other debris such as parts of roofs, metal sheeting and shingles crashed into power lines. What some of our customers may not realize is that a downed tree doesn't have to be right outside of your window – it could be miles away and still impact your electric service.
"We know our customers are incredibly frustrated and simply want their power back on," said Silagy. "Our restoration crews are working around the clock to get your lights back on, but in the hardest-hit areas we're spending hours clearing debris before it is safe for crews to reach powerlines and begin work. We appreciate our customers' patience and support as we work through these difficult conditions. We are fully committed to tackling these challenges head-on and we won't stop working until every home and business is restored."
FPL will continue to communicate restoration information through the media and online via FPL.com, Facebook and Twitter. Customers should call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) only to report conditions such as downed power lines or sparking electrical equipment. Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
Crews working to restore your power may not be visible to you
FPL's restoration operation is working around the clock after Irma to get power back on for every customer. Thousands of men and women are safely restoring service as quickly as possible. Even when you do not see them, our team is working to restore your power.
- Because of the way power is distributed, crews may be working on the same line from multiple locations, and one crew may have been directed to stop work while another takes action. Workers could be on a different street or at a substation working to restore your power.
- If you see a crew passing but not stopping, it may be because work must be performed at a nearby location before electric service can be restored to your home.
- In many instances, homes on the same street are served by different main power lines and even different substations. If work is completed on one of the main lines but not the other, it's possible for some neighbors to have power while other neighbors do not.
- Utilities work together when a disaster happens. FPL is receiving support from utilities and other companies from 30 states and Canada. So while you might not see an FPL truck on your street or in your neighborhood during a power outage, you may see our partners from other companies who are part of our restoration team.
Please stay safe and help us keep crews safe
We urge to continue taking the following safety precautions:
- Please heed Florida's Move Over Law that requires drivers to move over and slow down whenever there is a utility worker, law enforcement officer or a first responder on the side of the road.
- Stay far away from downed power lines, flooding and debris; lines could be energized and dangerous.
- Use extreme caution while driving. Power interruptions may cause traffic signals to stop working without warning. If you come to an intersection with a non-working traffic signal, Florida law requires that you treat it as a four-way stop.
- If using a portable generator, please follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper use and always plug appliances directly into the generator, not into the main electric panel.
- Keep generators well away from open windows to prevent dangerous fumes from entering your home or a neighbor's home.
How to recognize FPL workers and contractors
FPL takes the safety of our customers very seriously, and we want you to know how to identify FPL workers:
- FPL employees carry a photo identification badge.
- The cars and trucks of non-FPL employees who are helping with restoration efforts are typically marked as FPL-approved contractors or emergency workers.
- FPL employees, contractors and workers from other utilities helping with post-storm restoration efforts may need to work on your property, but they will not need to enter your home or business.
How to stay informed
FPL communicates restoration information to customers frequently through the news media and the following resources:
- Power Tracker: FPL.com/powertracker
- FPL website: FPL.com
- Twitter: twitter.com/insideFPL
- Facebook: facebook.com/FPLconnect
- FPL blog: FPLblog.com
- FPL Mobile App: Download from the App Store or Google Play
Visit FPL.com/storm for the latest restoration information.
Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving nearly 5 million customer accounts or an estimated 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. FPL's typical 1,000-kWh residential customer bill is approximately 25 percent lower than the latest national average and, in 2016, was the lowest in Florida among reporting utilities for the seventh year in a row. FPL's service reliability is better than 99.98 percent, and its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide. The company received the top ranking in the southern U.S. among large electric providers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM, and was recognized in 2017 as one of the most trusted U.S. electric utilities by Market Strategies International. A leading Florida employer with approximately 8,900 employees, FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE), a clean energy company widely recognized for its efforts in sustainability, ethics and diversity, and has been ranked No. 1 in the electric and gas utilities industry in Fortune's 2017 list of "World's Most Admired Companies." NextEra Energy is also the parent company of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.FPL.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
SOURCE Florida Power & Light Company