As of Saturday, 11 percent of Manatee County remained without electricity after Hurricane Irma as crews continue the effort to restore power to the county and the state.
For Manatee County, that means nearly 22,260 customers were still waiting for the lights to come back on, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Though it still leaves tens of thousands without power, it’s a decrease in outages from 9 p.m. Friday, when 14 percent of the county, or more than 29,000 people, were without power.
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Florida Power and Light had 22,180 customers without power and the local cooperatives had 80 customers without power, according to the 6 p.m. update from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
In Sarasota County, 15 percent of customers, 39,960 FPL and four cooperatives customers, are still without power, according to the 6 p.m. Florida Division of Emergency Management update.
More than 5.5 million customers across Florida lost power because of Hurricane Irma, but millions are still waiting for the lights to come back on. Friday, FPL officials posted to Facebook they had restored power to more than 3.4 million customers.
“We have an army of restoration workers that continue to be aggressively restoring power throughout our service territory,” Rob Gould, FPL vice president and chief communications officer, said in a briefing Saturday afternoon.
Fifteen percent of FPL customers are still without power across the state, according to Gould, who said there have been “significant challenges” getting power restored calling it an “extremely complex” operation.
“We are going to get the lights all back on. We are working 24-seven, we recognize what it’s like to be without power. I don’t say that lightly, many of our own employees and their families are still without power. Please know were doing everything we can to restore power but his was an extremely large impact storm,” Gould said.
Gould noted, however, they were ready for the storm have have practiced drills for storms like this.
More than 20,000 restoration workers from 30 states and Canada are in Florida helping FPL restore power in what Gould called one of the most complex restoration efforts ever.
He asked drivers that see restoration workers on the side of the road to move over and allow them a safe space to work.
FPL estimates it will complete “essentially” restoring power to Manatee and Sarasota counties on Wednesday, according to a news release.
Gould said there is no priority given to one neighborhood over another during restoration. He asked customers to continue to have patients as in some cases, workers are going house to house to restore power.
Customers should call FPL at 1-800-4OUTAGE (800-468-8243) only to report conditions such as downed power lines or sparking electrical equipment.
The Peace River Electric Cooperative call center (800-282-3824) has opened extended hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.