'We will not stop working': FPL vows to quickly restore Florida power
Sep 13 2017 by Francis Osborne
All 10 FirstEnergy utility companies from Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland have sent about 900 linemen, damage assessors, electrical contractors, foresters and support personnel to Florida to help utilities in Florida with restoration efforts following expected power outages from Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma's winds have torn construction cranes in half and leveled buildings across a stretch of coastline from the Florida Keys to the Georgia Sea Islands, along with the gulf coast from Tampa and Tallahassee.
The utility reported earlier Tuesday that 4.4 million customers had lost power due to Hurricane Irma and 1.1 million had been restored.
FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy meets the media at a restoration site Tuesday afternoon in southwest Miami-Dade County in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The company sent 175 employees, 52 bucket trucks, and 30 other vehicles and pieces of equipment to the hardest hit areas.
FPL has asked those without power to continue to be patient.
Gulf Power officials reported 4,600 customers' power had been restored since Irma began impacting the company's service area late Sunday night.
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The most extensive damage was likely in the Naples area, but a full assessment was ongoing.
"I'm sure a lot of people wish they could go down and help, fortunately our job is geared towards that so we're going to go down there to do our best and represent Canada", said Blair Clarke, who's making his first trip over the border.
"What we're seeing is encouraging, particularly on the west coast where our main transmission structures have not come down", Gould said.
Upgrades included clearing vegetation from more than 150,000 miles of power lines, strengthening almost 860 main power lines and placing more than 450 main power lines underground. More than 6 million customers were without electricity. The strongest concrete poles are made to withstand 145 miles per hour winds, Gould said.
"This is going to be a very, very lengthy restoration, arguably the most lengthy restoration and most complex in USA history", he said, asking that customers be patient.
High winds, torrential rain and power outages are common with enduring hurricanes.