Nearly a week after Hurricane Irma’s winds battered South Florida, Coral Gables is exploring whether to sue FPL.
Power hasn’t been restored quickly enough, according to Coral Gables city attorney Craig Leen.
“Today is the sixth day since the passing of Hurricane Irma in the South Florida area and still a substantial and inordinate number of City of Coral Gables residents and businesses unjustifiably remain without power,” Leen wrote Thursday in a cease-and-desist letter to FPL.
City leaders are so upset, they held an emergency meeting Thursday night and unanimously voted to explore whether to file a lawsuit or a complaint with the Florida Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates FPL.
In the letter, Leen demanded that all trees on downed power lines be removed by 5 p.m. Friday and that all homes be powered up by 11:45 p.m. Sunday.
Coral Gables’ request is consistent with FPL’s promise to have electricity up and running for all homes and businesses on the state’s east coast by the end of Sunday.
If the company doesn’t make it happen in the City Beautiful, Coral Gables attorneys say FPL is subject to fines of $500 to $15,000 a day.
FPL did not immediately respond Friday to an email from the Miami Herald.
City officials say that Coral Gables streets are still blocked by at least six trees tangled with downed or low-hanging power lines, trapping residents in their neighborhoods and leaving roads impassable. Leen says city workers are not able to clear the trees because FPL has to respond first.
As of Friday afternoon, 242,010 FPL customers in Miami-Dade remained without power, which is prioritized to first be restored to hospitals, police and fire stations, water treatment plants and 911 call centers.
“It is evident that FPL was inadequately prepared to respond to this storm and this is particularly concerning in light of the fact that the storm ultimately brought significantly slower winds than predicted,” Leen said in the letter.
FPL announced Friday that the company would be setting up a restoration site in Coral Gables from from 5 to 6:30 p.m.