In the days following Hurricane Irma, crews are still working to restore power to about 19 percent of Manatee County.
A 6 p.m. Thursday update from the Florida Division of Emergency Management showed that 39,310 Florida Power and Light customers and 382 cooperatives customers, 19 percent of the county’s customers, were still in the dark Thursday afternoon.
About 26 percent of Sarasota County, or 68,374 customers, are still without power, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
It’s a sign of improvement from Wednesday night, when, as of 7 p.m. Wednesday, 51,307 Manatee County customers were without power.
Hurricane Irma left 5.5 million of the more than 10 million Florida power customers waiting for the electricity to be turned back on.
FPL estimates it will “essentially” restore power to all its West Coast customers by Sept. 22, according to a news release. As of Thursday morning, the company announced it had restored power to more than 70 percent of customers. It’s a clip about four times faster than their response at this same point in time to Hurricane Wilma, officials said.
An FPL spokesman noted in a press conference Thursday that all hospitals impacted by the storm that FPL services have been restored.
Now comes the tedious work.
“We’re entering the stage of this restoration where we have restored many of the big blocks of customers and we’re now going into neighborhoods and in some cases going house by house. The last part of the restoration is the hardest part. It’s very manual, it’s very time consuming so you may not see the number of outages drop as quickly as we’ve seen in these first three days. There’s a lot of work to do but were not going to stop until everyone’s back on,” an FPL spokesperson said in a press conference Thursday.
Customers should call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) only to report conditions such as downed power lines or sparking electrical equipment.
A crew of more than 21,500 employees from across the country, including some from Canada, are deployed in Florida working to restore power, according to an FPL update Thursday.
PRECO officials noted their outage map is working, but experiencing some delays. Their call center, 1-800-282-3824, is also experiencing high call volume, but has opened extended hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Line crews from Texas are Louisiana assisting PRECO with restoration with more crews en route from Oklahoma scheduled to arrive Tuesday, according to a release.
Officials ask for continued patience as crews finish work to restore power to clients. Neighbors may be served by different power lines so one house may have power while their next door neighbors may not.