According to the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), there are approximately 500,000 municipal utility customers without power following the three days that Hurricane Irma battered the state. Hardest hit areas for municipal electric utilities include the Florida Keys, Homestead, Moore Haven, Clewiston, Wauchula, Lakeland, Bartow, Fort Meade, Orlando, Ocala and the Jacksonville area. Currently, 37 percent of municipal electric utility customers are without power, which is down from 61 percent yesterday.
Power has already been restored to an approximate 300,000 municipal electric utility customers. The City of Tallahassee electric utility and Kissimmee Utility Authority are close to 100 percent restoration and their available resources will be reassigned to other utilities once they are complete.
“Florida municipal electric utility workers, along with our fellow municipal electric utility lineworkers from other states and investor-owned utility personnel, immediately began working on power restoration efforts as soon as it was safe to do so following the incredible destruction and damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Crews are working nonstop to get power restored to all municipal electric utilities following this powerful national weather event.” said Amy Zubaly, FMEA Executive Director.
Nearly a week before Hurricane Irma hit Florida’s shores, FMEA began coordinating with municipal, cooperative and investor-owned utilities across the state and nation to assemble crews prepared to enter the affected areas once safe to assist with power restoration efforts. There are currently 1,000 Florida-based public power lineworkers working on power restoration throughout the state and more than 1,000 additional public power personnel from other parts of the country assisting. Statewide, there are more than 30,000 total personnel helping to restore power.
Crews are already in Florida or on their way from Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and across New England.
“Cooperation and assistance from others is critical during times like these. We greatly appreciation the help of personnel from public power and investor-owned utilities who left their homes and families to rush to our aid even before Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida,” added Zubaly.
FMEA reminds residents that there is still danger even after a storm has moved out of the area. Downed power lines pose a significant threat. Residents should keep these important safety precautions in mind as they clean up after Hurricane Irma:
- Never, ever touch a downed power line or go near one. Always assume the power line is live.
- Do not touch anything or anyone in contact with a fallen power line or other equipment.
- If a power line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle and call for help.
- Do not pull tree limbs off power lines. Leave those for utility crews to safely handle.
- Avoid areas with debris and downed trees. There could be live power lines hidden inside.
- Also avoid chain link fences and puddles that could have become electrified by downed power lines.
The Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) represents the unified interests of 34 public power communities across the state, which provide electricity to more than 3 million of Florida’s residential and business consumers.