About 5.8 million without power in US Southeast after Irma - utilities

14 September, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • The St. Lucie nuclear power plant is being closed ahead of Hurricane Irma

More than 6.7 million Florida homes and businesses are now without power after Hurricane Irma moved through the state, according to the state's emergency management division.

"This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in USA history", said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group. At 1 pm EDT, almost 1.6 million were without power while about 200,000 had electricity restored mostly by automated devices, FPL said.

Sunday night, 31 utility workers were stationed waiting out the storm in Orlando at Florida Power and Light's staging area. "That restoration process will be measured in weeks, not days", said FPL spokesman Rob Gould at a news conference.

As the storm weakens as it heads toward Georgia, outages have leveled off or even declined at some Florida utilities, while increasing in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

Florida Governor Rick Scott updates Irma recovery
There are widespread water and power outages, and the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authorities issued a precautionary boil water notice. FEMA officials estimated that 25 percent of homes were completely destroyed , while another 65 percent suffered serious damage.

Outages in Florida for Duke Energy Corp, which serves the northern and central parts of the state, fell to around 1 million customers by Tuesday afternoon, down from a peak of about 1.2 million on Monday, according to the company's website. He believes southwest Florida is the most impacted but cautions that numbers may rise as "Irma hasn't left".

The utilities had thousands of workers - some from as far away as California - ready to help restore power once Irma's high winds pass their service areas. The company warned, however, it would take longer to restore power to customers who suffered tornado damage or severe flooding.

FPL said its two nuclear plants in Florida were safe. FPL, a unit of NextEra Energy Inc and the state's biggest power company, said its outages dipped below 2.8 million by Tuesday afternoon from a peak of over 3.6 million Monday morning. Both reactors at its Turkey Point facility, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Miami, remained shut early Tuesday, while both reactors at its St. Lucie plant, about 120 miles (190 km) north of Miami, were operating at full power.

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