Irma Latest: Utility says it will take weeks to restore power

by Wade Massey September 11, 2017, 0:14
Irma Latest: Utility says it will take weeks to restore power

If all those households do lose power, then it could be the largest number of outages any utility company has ever had to grapple with, FPL spokesman Chris McGrath told reporters.

Florida Power and Light (FPL) estimates that 3.4 million Floridians could be without power during Hurricane Irma, which is now making its way toward the western portion of Florida.

Florida Power and Light says they have mobilized, and are urging customers to get ready and stay safe.

The very big storm covers an area more than double the size of the state, and on Sunday had maximum sustained winds of 130 miles an hour. The two facilities are Florida's only operating nuclear power plants. It could become a Category 5 at any time.

Duke has spent more than $2.4 billion on similar upgrades since 2004, including using "self-healing" systems to reroute power.

Palm Beach County is faring better with 135,730 out of 739,000 customers without power.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Friday it has dispatched additional inspectors to the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants in Florida in preparation for the effects of Hurricane Irma on those sites. He expects thousands of miles (kilometers) of poles and lines will need to be replaced, particularly on the Gulf coast. If the hurricane continues on its present track and strength, Florida's west coast could be more of a "rebuild" to restore power, he said.

He said 17,000 restoration workers from as far away as California and MA are already stationed around the state, but it will take time to rebuild the system. Duke had mobilized roughly 8,000, including 1,500 from its own Midwest operations, while Tampa Electric had called in almost 6,000 workers.

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