Hurricane

FPL says count on power outages if Hurricane Dorian makes landfall in Florida

A downed utility pole lies on the ground in Coral Gables on Sept. 16, 2017, following Hurricane Irma.
A downed utility pole lies on the ground in Coral Gables on Sept. 16, 2017, following Hurricane Irma. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Since 2005, Florida Power & Light has spent more than $4 billion hardening electrical grids, replacing wood power poles with steel and concrete and investing in smart technology to make their system more resilient to bad weather.

But at a press conference held at Riviera Beach on Sunday, FPL president and CEO Eric Silagy warned that if Hurricane Dorian makes landfall anywhere along the Florida eastern seaboard, power outages are inevitable.

“There is a 50 percent chance this storm could still make landfall on the eastern seaboard of Florida,” Silagy said. “We are prepared in case that happens.”

Silagy said FPL has nearly 16,000 people pre-staged or rolling into staging sites across Florida — one of the largest contingencies the company has ever had in preparation of a storm.

But Silagy also warned that those repair people would not be allowed to venture out to start restoring power until wind speeds fall below 35 mph.

“This is a very slow-moving storm,” he said. “It’s going to take some time for the effects to pass us by and it is safe for us to go out, understand what’s happened and then start to restore the power. We’re not going to compromise on that safety. So I ask for your patience and understanding.”

Silagy recommended FPL customers download the FPL mobile app onto their phones. The app will allow users to see where outages have occurred and estimated time until the power is restored.

Nearly 4.5 million of FPL’s 4.9 million customers lost power during Hurricane Irma in 2017, including 92 percent of accounts in Miami-Dade and 85 percent in Broward County. Tens of thousands of households suffered a week or longer without power.

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