Power Back For 602,000 FPL Customers, Others Face ‘prolonged Outages’ After Hurricane Ian – Florida Politics

Roughly 22% of FPL’s 5.27 million customers await reconnection.

Florida Power & Light crews worked through the night to restore power for more than half a million customers across the state. By Thursday morning, 601,780 customers had their lights back on. About 1.17 million awaited help.

More than 20,000 restoration workers, including some who traveled to Florida from 30 other states, are “working around the clock” to reconnect Floridians left without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Ian, an FPL news release said.

Thirty-seven FPL staging, parking and processing sites are now in place as well to speed and streamline efforts. Specialized crews are also clearing downed trees, debris and other damage so lineworkers can access systems.

The storms struck the Sunshine State on Wednesday afternoon near Fort Myers at near-Category 5 strength, bringing with it torrential rain, tornadoes and massive storm surges that flooded a large swath of the Gulf Shore.

FPL is now assessing the damage and what work is needed to bring its grid fully back online. The company expects some customers will experience “prolonged outages” as parts of its system will need more than just repairs.

“Hurricane Ian has forever altered the lives of so many of our fellow Floridians and we recognize the road to recovery will be long and challenging,” FPL Chair and CEO Eric Silagy said in a statement.

“We understand how difficult it is to be without power and our dedicated men and women will continue to work around the clock until every customer’s electricity is back on. That said, the catastrophic nature of this storm means that we may need to rebuild parts of our system in Southwest Florida, which will take time.”

Roughly 22% of FPL’s 5.27 million customers awaited reconnection as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Among the larger counties impacted by the storm, Charlotte, Collier, Lee and Sarasota contained the most customers still without power, according to FPL’s interactive Power Tracker.

In Lee County, where Ian made landfall just after 3 p.m. Wednesday, 84.5% of FPL’s 288,630 customers had unfixed outages. So did 67.4% of the company’s 287,120 customers in Sarasota.

Just over half of FPL’s 228,540 customers in Collier County and 91% of its 126,690 customers in Charlotte County reported the same.

Other counties with more than 10,000 powerless FPL customers included Brevard (58,640 of 330,380), De Soto (16,170 of 17,710), Flagler (17,530 of 66,910), Indian River (26,480 of 99,250), Manatee (97,290 of 198,710), Okeechobee (15,260 of 20,480), Palm Beach (11,260 of 766,020), Seminole (14,660 of 60,390), St. Johns (14,020 of 107,290), St. Lucie (40,290 of 145,010) and Volusia (97,920 of 191,950).

FPL spokesperson Michael Lewis told Florida Politics those figures are likely higher than the actual number of customers without power.

“If a customer has lost power more than once,” he said, “it does get added in there twice.”

Also uncertain is the number of dead due to the storm. Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told “Good Morning America” that he “definitely (knew) fatalities are in the hundreds.”

“There are thousands of people that are waiting to be rescued,” he said. “I can’t give a true assessment until we’re actually on scene assessing each scene, and we can’t access. That’s the problem. We’re accessing the bridges, seeing what’s compromised and what’s not, and this will be a life-changing event for the men and women who are responding. They’re going to see things they’ve never seen before.”

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