Recovery efforts underway; power could take until September 22

Gladys Abbott
September 13, 2017

OTTAWA-Canadian electricity crews have headed south to help millions of people left without power by Hurricane Irma, which tore through a number of Caribbean islands and Florida over the past week.

It gradually lost strength, weakening to a tropical storm by Monday morning with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles (110 km) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT).

The good news in South Florida is that recovery from power outages caused by Hurricane Irma is now expected to be a fix job, FPL spokesman Rob Gould said Saturday at a mid-day news conference.

"Access to electricity can be a lifeline in a disaster and our crews are determined to help restore power to the families and businesses in Florida as quickly and safely as possible", Greg Kiraly, Chief Operating Officer of Hydro One, said in a statement on Monday.

In South Carolina, 150,000 customers are without power, according to Duke Energy and SCE&G.

Some Floridians may have to suffer without air conditioning and basic power for an unimaginable length of time as some estimates look at weeks before power is restored throughout the whole state.

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But after the storm has ended, FPL asks customers to report their outages, just in case there's some damage that is affecting the location.

Florida residents are drifting back from shelters and far-away havens to see Hurricane Irma's scattershot destruction.

Nearly 20,000 Gulf Power customers are in the crosshairs of Tropical Storm Irma as it moves north into the Florida Panhandle.

FPL is a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc. The company said, however, it could request an increase if storm restoration costs exceed $800 million in any calendar year. The company has restored power to about 1 million customers so far but CEO Eric Silagy said Monday that "even though we are restoring power, people need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages".

Florida's second biggest power company, Duke, serving the northern and central parts of the state, said it still had about 1.2 million outages Tuesday morning, according to the company's website, while Duke's outages in North and SC climbed to about 160,000. Turkey Point's nuclear reactors are enclosed in six feet of steel-reinforced concrete and sit 20 feet above sea level, the Miami Herald reported.

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