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UPDATE: LCEC, FPL report on power outages

September 20, 2017
Special to THE CITIZEN (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

UPDATE:

Less than 10,000 of the remaining customers without power are located in Immokalee, Lehigh Acres and surrounding areas. Most customers in these areas, where the hurricane impacted the electric system the hardest, can expect restoration by Sept. 22.

Restoration to pockets of customers and individuals still without power in areas such as North Fort Myers, Pine Island, St. James City, Bokeelia, Useppa, Sanibel, Captiva, Cape Coral, Marco Island, Goodland and Everglades City are going to take longer. This is typical for electric utility restoration after a major event like a hurricane.

Article Photos

FPL (9/19/17)

These small numbers of customers are the most difficult part of restoration for utilities. Each location is unique so there is no way to know how long each will take. LCEC understands it is frustrating for these customers to see power all around them and they can rest assured crews will continue to work in their location until all power has been restored.

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ORIGINAL:

Lee County Electric Cooperative and Florida Power & Light Company have released the following updates regarding power outages following Hurricane Irma.

LCEC

Power in North Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Sanibel/Captiva and Marco Island is essentially restored, officials said today. Around-the-clock restoration will continue until everyone's power has been restored.

While 201,000 LCEC customer have power, 13,800 customers in Immokalee, Lehigh Acres and on the south system, along with pockets of customers throughout the service territory, remain without power. Most customers in these areas, where the hurricane impacted the electric system the hardest, can expect restoration by Sept. 22. There will be customers in these areas who may have damage to the infrastructure serving their specific location that will take longer to repair.

Power in the areas of North Fort Myers, Pine Island, St. James City, Bokeelia, Useppa, Sanibel, Captiva, Cape Coral, Marco Island, Goodland, and Everglades City, have essentially been restored.

There are small numbers of customers with more complex repairs, such as transformer or pole replacement in all areas. Crews will continue to work aggressively to address each isolated outage throughout the service territory. LCEC understands it is frustrating for these customers to see power all around them but they can rest assured crews will continue to work in their location until all power has been restored.

The LCEC restoration plan, matching most utility response plans, entails five steps:

- Damage assessment - which continues throughout the plan

- Repair of main power lines and critical infrastructure

- Restoration in areas that require the least repair to get the largest number restored

- Return to repair smaller outages requiring more work - in hundreds of neighborhoods

- Follow-up to address specific important issues once restoration is completed

When you are the only one in your neighborhood without power:

- Check to be sure their breaker is on.

- If pipes or wires at the meter box are bent or broken, a licensed electrician must make repairs so that LCEC can restore power. Permits are not needed for emergency restoration but government inspections will be needed once power has been restored to ensure safety.

- If the meter is damaged, LCEC will replace it to restore power.

- Call 239-656-2300 and report an outage on the automated phone line, so localized damage can be tracked and addressed.

FPL

As of Tuesday night, Florida Power & Light Company had restored service to nearly all of its 4.4 million customers, or nearly 99 percent, impacted by Hurricane Irma, according to officials.

"As we have said from the beginning, the latter part of any restoration, particularly one of this scope and magnitude, is always the most challenging," Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer, said. "Massive downed trees, flooded areas, tornado damage and other significant obstacles continue to challenge our more than 28,000 men and women who have been working 16-hour days in the blazing summer heat and humidity to restore service. We sincerely thank those still without power for what little patience and understanding may remain and assure you that we are working around-the-clock to get the lights and air conditioning back on."

In Southwest Florida, Manatee, Hardee, Sarasota and Charlotte are essentially restored. Power restoration is 87 percent complete or higher in DeSoto, Highlands, Glades and Lee counties. Hendry County is 90 percent restored and 83 percent of customers are restored in Collier County, where Irma made landfall and inflicted the worst damage.

"We also recognize that the crews working to restore service may not always be readily visible given work locations may be behind homes or in tree-lined areas," Silagy said. "This can create a false impression that we are not attacking the situation, which couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, in Miami-Dade County, we will tomorrow have more than 6,500 restoration workers, including 2,000 who will be deployed to Southwest Florida as soon as they finish their work. These crews will finish up the few remaining jobs in areas such as Coral Gables, which for many years, has placed restrictions on our efforts to trim trees and harden our electric system. Unfortunately, for our customers in that area, they are now paying the price in terms of extended outages. Needless to say, we are anxious to complete this part of the process so that we can finally move our forces across the state and complete restoration for our Southwest customers."

Restoration continues on track for all counties. Exceptions could occur in areas throughout Florida that were impacted by tornadoes, severe flooding, and heavy tree and debris damage. There may also be instances in which a customer's home or business is structurally damaged and unable to safely accept power. In addition, some of the outages may be the result of normal, day-to-day activity and not related to Irma. Customers who live in a county where power is essentially restored, but do not currently have electricity, should report their outage at: FPL.com/outage.

Customers may experience outages over the coming weeks and months due to weakened trees and branches that could fall impacting power lines and electric equipment. In addition, significant wind speeds have loosened electrical connections throughout the system that can lead to increased outages following the storm. Some FPL customers have already experienced repeated outages since Irma struck due to this situation. FPL crews will continue to make needed repairs as they are identified.

FPL has established walk-up sites for our customers in several communities. These sites provide charging stations, water, Wi-Fi, ice, community service and restoration information, and customer service assistance. Visit: FPL.com/powertracker to see locations and times.

 
 

 

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