- More than 600,000 customers in Florida were still without power on Monday morning, five days after Hurricane Ian struck the state’s southwest coast as a Category 4 storm, according to data from PowerOutage.us.
- Utility recovery efforts are continuing; the hardest-hit utility, Florida Power & Light Co., said Sunday that it has restored power to nearly 80% of customers impacted by the storm, but it still has 459,000 without service. Some customers could be without power until Sunday, the utility said.
- Thousands of out-of-state utility workers have traveled to Florida to help with the recovery. Investor-owned utilities sent more than 44,000 mutual aid workers, while smaller cooperatives mustered about 1,300 for the recovery effort in four states.
Even with tens of thousands of utility workers on the ground, officials warn there is still significant work to do.
“This will be a lengthy rebuilding effort,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “Some systems have been significantly damaged and will need to be rebuilt one pole at a time.”
Peace River Electric Cooperative, in Wauchula, Florida, said Ian took 88% of its customers offline. While service has been restored in five of the 10 counties it serves, “the unprecedented flooding in our service territory has delayed restoration in DeSoto, Hardee, and Sarasota counties,” the utility said in a Sunday statement. “Service will be restored to all members that can accept power in the next several days.”
FPL said the majority of its customers still without power will be back online by the end of Friday, but in some areas it could take longer. The company has been flying its fixed-wing drone to aid in damage assessments, and it also said it has used airboats and kayaks to survey its system.
“The days ahead will be challenging,” FPL CEO and Chairman Eric Silagy said in a statement.
FPL did have some good news: There was “no significant structural damage” at any of the utility’s power plants, and no transmission structures went down in Hurricane Ian, despite winds up to 155 mph. The utility has been working to make its grid more resilient after a devastating 2004-2005 storm season.
Duke Energy Florida on Sunday said it had restored power for more than 930,000 customers, though 77,000 were still without service. The utility is still facing “local flooding and other access challenges,” it said.
“There are hard-hit areas that will require more extensive work. But we are not stopping until all customers are restored,” said Todd Fountain, storm director for Duke Energy Florida.
As of 8 p.m. Sunday, Tampa Electric said it had about 12,000 customers still without power. “We expect to restore most of these by Monday night,” the utility said. “A small number of customers with more complex or localized damage may take longer to restore.”