Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has launched a massive effort to restore power to the approximately 4.4 million customers impacted by Hurricane Irma, some of whom may have experienced multiple outages. Nearly 19,500 FPL employees and workers from other utilities and electrical contracting companies have commenced restoration, and as of Monday evening, more than 1.1 million customers who were affected by the storm have had their service restored.
“Hurricane Irma is unprecedented by almost every measure – its size, destructive power and slow movement. All 27,000 square miles and 35 counties of our service territory have been impacted by this devastating storm,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “We have the largest restoration workforce in U.S. history responding to the worst storm in our company’s history. Our crews are out restoring power, and every hour of every day more and more people are getting their lights back. That said, we anticipate that much of the electric system in Southwest Florida will require a complete rebuild, which could take weeks. In contrast, we expect our electric system along Florida’s East Coast will require more traditional repairs. Regardless, this will be a lengthy restoration effort.”
Damage will be assessed using drones, helicopters and field workers who will be on the ground and equipped with hand-held devices.
Silagy said it’s way too early to come up with a cost estimate. Once the storm is gone, the damage assessment should take 48 hours, but there are always surprises where a damage is worse than expected. “The assessment is never perfect. You are doing your best to get an accurate assessment. Until you actually get on the ground, it’s hard.”