FPL: Power should return to Florida's East Coast by weekend's end

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A total of nearly 4.5 million Florida Power & Light customers have been affected by the storm, with about 1 million getting service restored, mostly by automated devices.

Florida Power & Light Co. said Tuesday that electrical service on the west coast will be "essentially" restored by September 22, except in areas with extensive flooding or wind damage from Hurricane Irma that could take longer to complete repairs.

Across Florida and the rest of the Southeast, millions are without power after Hurricane Irma lashed the region with winds over 100 miles per hour, heavy rains and destructive storm surge.

Dinneen said residents have to be patient, because the power companies are also working to get power in other areas in Florida that were more impacted by Irma.

Beyersdorf and Jensen left northern Wisconsin on Friday morning and raced to southern Florida to be in place ahead of Irma's impact. FPL said in the proposal that the deal would ultimately save customers an estimated $183 million because of eliminating future costs related to the plant.

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But Gould said those outage numbers will soon start to shrink.

"Our teams train all the time and they do a lot of storm aid to other communities", said the utility's Kimberly Blair. "The number of poles down appears to be significantly less than what we expected to see", said Gould. "It is by far and away the largest in the history of our company".

FPL is restoring power according to its detailed plan, which includes generation facilities going back on line first which restores power to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, police stations and 911 services, then they restore feeders which feeds the largest amount of customers along those lines and then come the smaller lines into individual neighborhoods.

More than 20,000 FPL workers and 7,000 Duke Energy workers have responded to the Central Florida area in order to fix power lines, substations and the larger plants.

FPL, which serves 5 million accounts representing 10 million people in 35 counties, credits a $3 billion strengthening of its system after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 for the minimal damage. In the case of Irma, due to the increased preparation by the county after last year's storm, Dinneen said Volusia was not one of the worst affected counties in the state. The plant's other reactor, Unit 2, continued to operate at full power. He said they are restoring power and accessing damage to the grid.