As the people in the U.S. Virgin Islands were starting to repair and rebuild after Hurricane Irma, yet another huge storm — the formidable Maria, a Category 5 — headed straight for the island of St. Croix on Tuesday evening, Sept. 19.
Irma, a Category 5 when it hit the Virgin Islands earlier this month, stripped the islands of St. Thomas and St. John of the lush vegetation they are famous for, and now it appeared that Maria was about to give the same treatment to St. Croix.
Communications lines were down on Wednesday, Sept. 20, after Maria’s passage.
After Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions of homes and businesses, the Florida Public Service Commission will conduct a review of the electric system.
“The public should be aware that the PSC plans to review Hurricane Irma’s impacts on electric utility infrastructure and the utilities’ post-storm restoration performance as soon as reasonably feasible,” commission Chairman Julie Brown said in a statement late Tuesday.
From creating a state gasoline reserve to protecting vulnerable seniors in nursing homes, a newly created House committee will look at ways of better preparing Florida to face major storms like Hurricane Irma.
“With any event of this magnitude, lessons can be learned,” House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, said Tuesday in a memo to House members, announcing the 21-member Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness. “We must move quickly to assess our recent experience and pinpoint tangible, meaningful ways to improve Florida’s hurricane readiness and response capabilities.”
The Florida Municipal Electric Association on Sept. 18 reported that 99 percent of the state’s public power electric utility customers have had their power restored following the devastation of Hurricane Irma.
FMEA said that approximately 18,500 public power electric customers remain without power in Alachua, Duval, Marion, Monroe and Polk Counties.
During a mutual aid conference call on the morning of Sept. 15, public power officials said significant progress is being made in restoring power to public power utility customers as a result of Irma.
More Than 740,000 Municipal Electric Utility Customers Restored; Approximately 67,700 Customers Remain Without Power
According to the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), more than 740,000 municipal electric utility customers have had their power restored and 67,690 municipal utility customers remain without power – less than 5 percent of the state’s total municipal electric utility customers.
Little more than a year after losing a bid for the Florida Senate, former state Rep. Ritch Workman has been tapped by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as a utility regulator.
Scott late Friday appointed Workman and Gary Clark, a deputy secretary at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, to serve on the state Public Service Commission. Scott also reappointed veteran Commissioner Art Graham to another four-year term on the panel.
Significant progress is being made in restoring power to public power utility customers as a result of Hurricane Irma, public power officials said during a mutual aid conference call on the morning of Sept. 15.
At the start of the call, Mike Hyland, the American Public Power Association’s senior vice president for engineering services, noted that “we peaked close to seven million customers” who lost power when Irma first hit, “and now we’re down to about two million, which is a lot of progress and public power is really leading the way in restoration efforts.”
Amy Zubaly, executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association, said during the call “that we’re making a lot of progress here in Florida.”