Florida Public Power Utilities Close in on Completing Power Restoration

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.

With Hurricane Irma coming onshore in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, Monroe County, Fla., was the hardest hit and will take the longest to fully restore, FMEA said Sept. 18.

FMEA said that as of 12 p.m. Sept. 18, there were 13,500 customers in Monroe County who remained without power out of a total of 31,183 customers.

“Crews continue to work tirelessly to bring all Monroe County public power customers back online as soon as possible. Additional crews and resources have been sent to assist Keys Energy Services with their restoration efforts,” FMEA said. Keys Energy Services is the public power utility for the Lower Florida Keys.

FMEA said that public power electric utilities with customers who remain without power are also assessing individual situations in their areas.

It noted that some customers without power may have sustained damage to their homes and businesses preventing power restoration.

KUA crews travel to assist Lakeland Electric

Meanwhile, after nearly a week of power restoration work in Kissimmee and Orlando following Irma, Kissimmee Utility Authority crews traveled to Lakeland, Fla., the morning of Sept. 17 to assist affected residents in Polk County.

KUA said it restored service to 38,000 of its own customers from Monday, Sept. 11 through Thursday, Sept. 14. Immediately upon work completion in Kissimmee, KUA sent crews to Orlando where Irma knocked out power to 145,000 Orlando Utilities Commission customers.

The Kissimmee crews worked three days in Orlando and were released by OUC Saturday evening after all work had been completed.

KUA crews traveled to Lakeland to assist Lakeland Electric with its power restoration. Irma knocked out power to 78,000 Lakeland Electric customers in Polk County.

In an updated posted on its website the morning of Sept. 18, Lakeland Electric said that it had reached a goal of restoring 95% of customers with storm-related outages and had was reporting 4,000 customers without power.

Lakeland Electric said that it had four types of outages left to repair: (1) the three most significantly damaged areas; (2) isolated outages not linked to most significantly damaged areas with a small number of homes; (3) individual homes that sustained damage on their meter or weatherhead; and (4) one-offs, where one of two customers are without power on a single street.

Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria

Meanwhile, Hurricane Maria was continuing to intensify on Sept. 18 and turned into a Category 4 system. Its projected path includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are still recovering from Irma.

Therefore, the schedule for distribution line crews that were due to land in the Virgin Islands Sept. 18 to assist with Irma recovery efforts appeared to be in flux. Similarly, the schedule for the delivery of poles and equipment that were scheduled for Sept. 19 and Sept. 20 may have to change with Maria.

As previously reported, crews from the Western Area Power Administration and linemen from the Army Corps of Engineers were expected to arrive in St. Thomas the week of Sept. 18 to help with initial restoration efforts.

​(WAPA employees arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 18, ahead of Hurricane Maria).

WAPA said that late on the night of Sunday, Sept. 17, it deployed an advance team to the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of restoration efforts after Irma.

Staff is hunkering down in San Juan Puerto, Rico, until Maria passes.

WAPA restoration crews and equipment are not scheduled to arrive for several days.

Reposted with permission from Public Power Daily.

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