Hurricane Irma death toll reaches 82, 1.5 million without power
Sep 17 2017 by Francis Osborne
One person has died and three others are being treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric generator in Daytona Beach, Florida, the latest such death as people across the state wait for power to be restored after Hurricane Irma.
The storm had knocked out power to about 1.5 million customers in the state on Monday, more than a third of them in metro Atlanta.
FPL, which serves almost 5 million homes and businesses, said it expects to restore power to essentially all its users, in the eastern portion of Florida, by the end of the weekend and the harder-hit western portion of the state by September 22.
FPL, the state's largest utility, said its outages dipped to around 2.5 million customers by Tuesday evening from a peak of more than 3.6 million on Monday morning, but that was still more than half of its customers.
Florida Public Counsel J.R. Kelly said that customer communications almost always fail in major storms.
In Puerto Rico, the government announced 1 million people lost power from Irma.
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"We apologize for any kind of miscommunications or cross communications", Gould said. "Thank you for your continued patience, and rest assured, we will get your power restored". Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the top killers as people turn to gas stoves to stay warm or use portable generators to power their refrigerators or air conditioners.
At Gulf Power, a Southern Co. unit that serves just over 455,000 in northwest Florida, spokesman Rick DelaHaya said Monday morning that the brunt of Irma was just starting to arrive in that region. Restoration is expected to reach 90 percent by Tuesday and wrap up on Wednesday. On Monday, when Florida was at the height of the power outages, 6.7 million accounts were impacted.
However, officials at the Florida Department of Health said the facility did not indicate the extent of its problems nor requested assistance in reports to a state monitoring database. "Initial assessments suggest that hardened FPL feeders, which are our main power lines, performed 30 percent better during Irma than non-hardened feeders. I cooked a frozen pizza because it was about to go bad", he said, referring to his experience during Wilma. A native Floridian, Miller was expecting the outages and has even gotten used to them after enduring years of tropical storms.
After Irma, "If they ask for more FirstEnergy employees, we're prepared to send more".