More than 1M without power in Florida

Over 1.6 million in Florida lose power from Irma utility says

Pic Courtesy Reuters

Power outages from Hurricane Irma dropped to about 5.8 million customers in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama by Tuesday afternoon, down from a peak of over 7.4 million late Monday, according to utilities in the affected region.

"The industry's Irma response is one of the largest power restoration efforts in USA history", Kuhn said.

Irma hit southwestern Florida on Sunday morning as a unsafe Category 4 storm, the second-highest level on the five-notch Saffir-Simpson scale. The state's emergency management officials said the storm cut power to more than 6.5 million account holders across the state as of Monday afternoon. "That restoration process will be measured in weeks, not days", said FPL spokesman Rob Gould at a news conference.

Sunday night, 31 utility workers were stationed waiting out the storm in Orlando at Florida Power and Light's staging area.

Major utilities in Florida - including NextEra Energy Inc's Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Corp and Emera Inc's Tampa Electric - have mobilized tens of thousands of workers to deal with the outages after Irma landed early Sunday and carved a destructive path up Florida, which has a population of about 20 million. Emera's Tampa Electric utility said the storm could affect up to 500,000 of the 730,000 homes and businesses it serves.

FPL said on Friday that Irma could affect around 4.1 million customers, but that was before the storm track shifted away from the eastern side of the state. He believes southwest Florida is the most impacted but cautions that numbers may rise as "Irma hasn't left". The company warned, however, it would take longer to restore power to customers who suffered tornado damage or severe flooding.

Most of those costs were related to Matthew, which caused a third as many outages as Irma did for FPL.

FPL said its two nuclear plants in Florida were safe.

FPL, a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc, had said on Friday it planned to shut both units at Turkey Point sometime on Saturday about 24 hours before hurricane force winds reached the plant.

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