As Irma steams toward the Tampa Bay area there is a very good chance that there will be massive power outages. Large loss of power has already begun throughout the state as the early effects of Irma pounds the East Coast of Florida.
The power is likely to be interrupted by the high winds and rain that is about to enter the Central Florida area. Customers from St. Petersburg to Daytona will be without power for up to three to four days.
Rob Gould, a spokesman for Florida Power and Light, said in a Sunday morning news briefing that nearly 2 million of the utility’s customers have lost power, but electrical power has been restored to about 320,000 of those customers thus far.
But, Gould added, “it’s going to be a long, long road.” He said the company has a workforce of 17,000 people in utility crews drawn from about 30 states. He warned against complacency as Hurricane Irma moved through the state, saying “every bit of Florida is going to feel its wrath.”
Gould said the slow movement of the hurricane would prolong power outages.
“The storm is slowing down, and that’s not good news for us,” he said. “That means it will loiter longer over our territory.”
He said that it would not just be a question of repair, but of a broader reconstruction of the grid infrastructure. He said progress would be “measured in weeks, not days.”
He added, “Our nuclear plants, which are the most structurally sound in the world, are safe.”
Gould’s briefing was interrupted by a brief power outage. He apologized after the power came back one, saying “we are not immune to Irma’s wrath.
FPL serves about half the state; its figures do not include outages from other major companies such as Duke Energy Florida and Tampa Electric.
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