Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), Juno Beach, Florida, says it has already restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers as Hurricane Irma moves through the state and the company expects additional, lengthy outages as Irma remains a threat to millions of customers throughout Florida, the utility reported on Sunday.
"Despite Irma's exceedingly high winds, tornadic activity, storm surge and severe flooding, FPL has restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers, due largely to automation along its energy grid," says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "We expect the West Coast to be the hardest-hit area, requiring an extensive rebuild of our energy grid. As a result, our West Coast customers will likely be without power for a much longer period of time. We urge everyone to continue to stay safe and ask for your patience."
FPL's restoration workforce is restoring power in between bands of severe weather where conditions permit and it's safe to do so. We are poised to begin thorough damage assessments as soon as it is safe to work, and will provide broad estimates of when power will be restored as soon as available.
FPL cautions when gathering post-storm debris, keep utility poles and transformers clear so that restoration workers have access to them.
Even when winds have subsided, conditions can be dangerous. "We urge customers in stormy and flooded areas to take the following safety precautions," it says in a press release:
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.
Exercise caution and avoid all power lines when cleaning up hurricane debris and vegetation:
No trimming should be done near a power line. Do not attempt to remove or trim foliage within 10 feet of a power line. If a tree or tree limbs have fallen on a power line or pulled it down, do not approach the line or the tree. Customers should call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) to report conditions such as downed power lines or sparking electrical equipment. Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
Be especially careful when working with any extended equipment or tools. Be sure that ladders or scaffolds are far enough away so that you – and the ends of the tools you're using – stay at least 10 feet away from power lines.
Visit FPL.com/storm for additional safety tips.