Power to South Florida homes, businesses could be restored by end of weekend

It may not seem like it if you sweated through the night and are worried about food supplies, but power is coming back online in South Florida as the region begins its recovery after Hurricane Irma.

Florida Power & Light sent out by tweet Tuesday morning that power on Florida’s east coast could be restored by the end of the weekend, with the possible exception of exception of areas hit by tornadoes, flooding and severe damage.

 

Overnight, 300,000 more homes and businesses in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties got their power restored, according to FPL data.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday in Miami-Dade, 648,970 customers had outages out of 1.1 million customers in total, according to FPL data. In Broward, 485,860 had no power out of 933,300, and in Palm Beach 386,010 of 739,000 were out. That’s about 1.5 million homes and businesses without power, more than half of the homes in the tri-county area.

 
 

FPL has only been providing outage information at the county level and a media relations spokesperson said it is not able to give outages by areas at this time. “We are working on it but do not have that at this time.”

FPL is restoring power according to its detailed plan, restoring it first to critical services, next to large commercial areas. Then come the smaller pockets of customers.

It may be weeks before some get their power back, because electrical systems in some areas may need rebuilding, FPL has warned. On Tuesday, FPL was estimating that its hardest hit west coast customers will have power restored by Sept. 22, with the possible exception of its hardest hit customers.

“We won’t rest until every customer has their lights back on,” said FPL CEO Eric Silagy on Monday.

It can’t come soon enough for West Kendall resident Sandra Padron, who said her house and neighborhood lost power at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

“We have no idea of when we will be able to get gas. We have not seen any FPL crews. We have no updates on our outage. We are running out of food and generator gas is gone. FPL has no updates or estimates. Traffic lights are out, trees and fences down, no gas for miles and no electricity,” she emailed to the Miami Herald. “We are literally living in the dark ages.”

Trucks were seen rolling in the region Monday and Tuesday morning. FPL employees will always carry an FPL photo ID badge, be in FPL trucks, and will never need to enter your home, FPL said. FPL also warned residents to stay away from downed power lines. If you see a downed power line, call 911 or 800-4OUTAGE

FPL said it has an army of 19,500 workers, including crews from other utilities outside the state, working to get power back to its customers in 35 counties, literally every county it operates in. FPL has activated 30 staging sites, each a mini-city to support and supply its workers.

This report will be updated frequently. Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

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