Florida Power & Light gears up for possible 'widespread' destruction after Irma


  • Photo via NASA
Florida Power & Light, the state's largest electric utility, said Thursday more than 11,000 employees and contractors will be available to restore power after Hurricane Irma.

FPL serves areas of South Florida and the Atlantic Coast that could get hit hard by the storm. FPL said more than 20 staging sites have been activated. Still, the company anticipates that restoration of electricity after massive outages will take time.

"We continue to pre-position an army of line and vegetation workers across the state where they can make the biggest impact as soon as it is safe to do so," FPL President and Chief Executive Officer Eric Silagy said in a prepared statement. "Due to the strength and magnitude of Irma, our service area will likely see widespread and substantial destruction that will require crews to literally rebuild parts of our electric system. Restoring power through repairs is measured in days, while rebuilding our electric system could be measured in weeks."

A big part of any restoration would be a need to cut away trees and large branches that have grown since the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and might fall across power lines.

"We have been extremely aggressive with our tree trimming and vegetation-management program each and every year," Silagy said. "That said, given this will likely be Mother Nature's first wholesale clearing effort in South Florida in more than a decade, we fully anticipate whole trees located off FPL's right-of-way and major debris to cause power outages."

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