Part of Florida’s power grid must be completely rebuilt

by | Sep 29, 2022

 

  • Florida Power & Light’s electrical grid will need to be entirely rebuilt in some areas after taking massive damage from Hurricane Ian’s landfall 
  • 1.7 million FPL customers are experiencing power outages as of 5:00 A.M. Thursday, though line technicians have been deployed across Florida to begin restoring power 
  • FPL has also deployed drone teams to search for localized points of damage to the power system so repair work can commence

Following high winds at the hands of Hurricane Ian, Florida Power & Light (FPL) stated on Thursday that parts of its electrical grid will need to be rebuilt to restore power to Floridians.

As conditions continue to rapidly deteriorate and crews are unable to deploy due to dangerous conditions, FPL will work remotely, using smart grid technology, to restore power where possible.

In some areas, customers could experience more than one outage as severe weather bands continue to move through. Due to the destructive nature of this storm, dangerous conditions could last for several days and cause outage counts to fluctuate.

More than 2.4 million Floridians were left without power after Hurricane Ian made landfall over Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. Catastrophic flooding and high storm surges were recorded following landfall.

“Hurricane Ian’s catastrophic winds will mean parts of our system will need to be rebuilt – not restored. Be prepared for widespread, extended outages as we are assessing the damage. We are already at work restoring power where we can do so safely,” the company said.

Statewide, hundreds of thousands of Floridians have had power restored, but millions still remain in the dark. According to a company document, 1.7 million FPL customers are powerless as of 5:00 A.M.

Duke Energy, the state’s second-largest energy provider, reports just under 700,000 customers without power across Florida as of 12:30 P.M., with 8,604 total outages.

Like FPL, Duke Energy mobilized roughly 10,000 lineworkers, tree professionals, damage assessment, and support personnel ahead of storm impact.

“We are actively monitoring Ian’s path, intensity, and timing, and we’re bringing in additional resources from our Midwest territory and mutual assistance programs to restore power as conditions allow,” said Todd Fountain, Duke Energy Florida storm director.

Peace River Electric Cooperative, which has a presence in Hardee and DeSoto counties, also stated that it is closely monitoring Ian’s continued path.

Peace River currently reports 10,502 outages across the two counties.

Statewide, other utilities like water and sewage temporarily went out in areas like Sarasota, but have been mostly restored statewide. In Jacksonville, several water boil notices went into effect, but have since expired.

FPL’s restoration workforce has increased to more than 20,000 men and women, including mutual assistance from 30 states.

“We understand how difficult it is to be without power and our dedicated men and women will continue to work around the clock until every customer’s electricity is back on. That said, the catastrophic nature of this storm means that we may need to rebuild parts of our system in Southwest Florida, which will take time,” said FPL CEO Eric Silagy.

Shortly after winds subsided on Thursday morning, damage assessment teams spread over FPL’s service region with dozens of drone teams set to scour for damage localizations.

The company has mobilized 37 staging, parking, and processing locations around the state to place workers and equipment in accordance with the areas that need it most, so that electricity may be restored as soon as it is safe to do so.

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