Hurricane

FPL promises your power will be back by Sunday night — with one catch

If you’re still fretting in the dark about when your power will finally be restored, take heart: Florida Power & Light Co. has doubled-down on its promise to have the electricity up and running for all homes and businesses on the state’s east coast by the end of Sunday Sept. 17.

The west coast, where Hurricane Irma caused the greatest damage, will be back online by Friday Sept. 22.

“We are on track with our restoration efforts and we are working non-stop to meet the expectations we have given,” said FPL spokesman Bryan Garner during a press conference Thursday morning.

The only exceptions: Homes and businesses that suffered “extreme or catastrophic damage” from flooding or tornadoes. Those properties will require rebuilding before power can safely be restored, Garner said.

As of noon Thursday, Garner said FPL had restored service to 70 percent of its three million South Florida customers.

305,510 of Miami-Dade’s 1.1 million homes and businesses remained without power. In Broward, outages continue to plague 206,450 out of 933,300 customers. In Palm Beach, 156,590 out of 739,000 clients are waiting for their service to be restored.

All of the company’s 263 substations — the spinal cord of FPL’s grid — were back in business. 112 hospitals also had service again.

Garner described the death of eight residents at a Hollywood nursing home that became a death trap after the air conditioning failed as a “tragedy.” He explained that FPL does an annual review of priority restoration targets with the local governments of the 35 communities the company serves to identify hospitals, police and fire stations, water treatment plants, 911 call centers and other places where initial repair efforts should focus.

Memorial Regional Hospital, which is directly across the street the nursing home in Hollywood, had power on Wednesday. Nursing facilities are not on the list.

Garner addressed the frustration some customers without power may feel seeing the lights are back on at the home of their neighbors next door or across the street.

“In those cases, it is possible you're served by one main feeder line and your neighbor uses another,” Garner said. “That doesn't mean we've forgotten about you.”

As the repair process enters its final stage, Garner said it will take longer to restore service to remaining customers, because the process is now in a door-by-door, case-by-case phase. It could take half a day just to get power back into one home.

Garner also warned that just because you have power now doesn’t mean it may not go out again.

 

“It's possible that in some cases, as crews restore main feeder lines, temporary outages will occur,” he said. “There are elements of the grid where we have to de-energize a line, make repairs and then bring it back online.”

Garner said FPL has a crew of 21,000 people working throughout the state to restore power, comparing the amount of equipment and personnel involved to a “military operation.”

If you have a wifi connection, you can check the status of service restoration at your property www.fplmaps.com.

Rene Rodriguez: 305-376-3611, @ReneMiamiHerald

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