'We will not stop working': FPL vows to quickly restore Florida power

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As of Monday morning, almost 4.5 million of the company's almost 5 million customers were without power, according to a company outage map.

Wilma, a devastating storm in its own right, did not reach as many areas of the state as Irma and affected only 21 counties, he said. "We also have restoration crews in the field beginning work".

Counties affected by Florida Power & Light outages.

The move came as the state prepared for Hurricane Irma, which knocked out power to millions of FPL customers.

FPL said it has an army of 19,500 workers, including crews from other utilities outside the state, working to get power back to its customers in 35 counties, literally every county it operates in. Some homes and businesses could be without power for weeks, especially in the hardest-hit areas like southwest Florida, the NextEra Energy Inc unit said. Power had been restored to 115,380 customers.

Hurricane Irma's winds have torn construction cranes in half and leveled buildings across a stretch of coastline from the Florida Keys to the Georgia Sea Islands, along with the gulf coast from Tampa and Tallahassee.

To restore power, FPL split Florida into a western and eastern portion.

The company has sent a "cavalry" of workers from across the Southeast to work on downed power lines and blown transformers. "But you've traded that risk off for outages due to storm surge or to flooding".

"There's damage assessors looking at exactly what we are dealing with - they are on land and in the air", Ms. Jacobs said. The utility has about 3,400 employees working on restoring the outages.

FPL has only been providing outage information at the county level and a media relations spokesperson said it is not able to give outages by areas at this time.

"We're experiencing widespread outages and there is no need to report your outage at this time", an FPL alert message reads. But Silagy told Bloomberg on Friday that Hurricane Irma brought winds that can "snap a concrete pole", and overwhelm flood protections for underground distribution systems.

"Certainly, if you are a customer on a feeder line that feeds a hospital, more than likely you are going to have service restored to you before others", Gould said.

As of Monday, the state's generation fleet had remained up and running as normal, with the exception of two FPL nuclear power plants directly in Irma's path.

At Gulf Power, a Southern Co. unit that serves just over 455,000 in northwest Florida, spokesman Rick DelaHaya said Monday that the brunt of Irma was just starting to arrive in that region.

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