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ByBRUCE RITCHIE

09/13/201701:49PMEDT

 

TALLAHASSEEFlorida Power &LightCo.says twonuclear unitsthatwere safely shutdownduringHurricaneIrmawere restartedWednesday morning.

 

FPL alsoreportedthat36percentofFlorida'sutilitycustomers remainedwithoutpower Wednesday morningfollowing thedestructioncausedby HurricaneIrma.Powerhas beenrestoredto 2.7millioncustomers,accordingtostatereports.

 

As a precaution,FPL hadshutdownthetwonuclearunitsatits Turkey Pointpower plantnear Homesteadandoneoftwounits attheSt.Lucienuclear plantnear Fort Pierce.

 

"Three nuclear facilities are onlineandoneisoffline,"saidRob Gould,vicepresidentof marketingandcommunication."They areinsafecondition asfarastheoneoffline." Hurricane IrmaonSunday struckandcrossed the KeysandmovedashoreatMarco Islandwith 115mphwinds.Thestormweakenedas itmovedupthewestcoastofthe state,leaving6.5millionresidential andcommercial customer accountswithoutpower, or 65percentstatewide.

 

As ofWednesday morning,3.8million accountsremainedwithout powermostof themcustomers ofFPL andDukeEnergy Florida.


FPLhad1.9millionofits 4.9millioncustomers still withoutelectricity.Powerhadbeen restored to1.7millionFPLcustomers since Monday,accordingtoStateEmergency ResponseTeamreports.

 

FPLis estimatingthatpower inits service area alongtheeastcoastwillberestoredby theendoftheweekendand alongthewestcoastby Sept.22.

 

Gouldsaidpower wasbeingrestoredroughlyfour times faster thanfollowingHurricane

Wilma,whichslammedsouthwestFloridain2005.

 

Hesaidmostdamageto thepower systemwas from fallen trees and debris and there wasn't as muchdamageinsouthwestFloridaas expected.HesaidFPLhas foundmore than100polesdown across thesystem,comparedwith10,000to11,000after Wilma.

 

"Wearenotfindingourselves havingto rebuildentiretransmissionstructuresor substations,"Gouldsaidduringabriefing."Whatthat'sshowingusisthattheinvestments thatwehavemadeonbehalf ofourcustomersover thepastdecadearebenefitingus andbenefiting,more importantly,our customers in terms ofafasterrestoration effort."

 

Duke Energy Florida onWednesdayreporteditstillhad826,128ofits nearly 1.8million customer accountswithoutelectricity.Powerhadbeenrestoredto more than500,000 customers sinceMonday.

 

Dukesays itexpectstorestorepowerby theendofFridaytoPinellas andPasco counties,andby theendofSunday tomostother counties initsservice area.

 

Restorationinrural HardeeandHighlands counties couldextendpastSundaybecause ofsignificantdamage.

 

Tampa Electric Co.on Wednesday still had 29percentofits751,882customers without power. Electric cooperatives had41percentofcustomers withoutpower andmunicipal utilities had23percentofcustomers withoutpower.

 

TheFloridaPublicServiceCommission urgedresidentswithoutpower tobepatientand saidthere wouldbeareview oftheresponse.

 

Followingcompletionofsaferestorationefforts,allstakeholders,includingthePSC  and other stakeholder agencies,willassess restorationperformanceandanyopportunities and/or needsfor improvement," PSC ChairwomanJulie Brownsaidinanews release.

 

TheSept.13(9:24 a.m.) power outagereportcanbeviewedhere.

 

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