Florida Power & Light (FPL) said late Monday that it had restored power to 98 percent of its 1.2 million customers who experienced interrupted service because of Hurricane Matthew.
In the storm’s wake, FPL inspections revealed the need to rebuild the power infrastructure within the hardest-hit zones of Flagler, Volusia, Seminole, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
"Our crews are finding poles snapped in half and fallen trees on power lines," Eric Silagy, FPL’s president and CEO, said. "Because the damage is so extensive in some areas, such as Holly Hill in Volusia County, Palm Coast in Flagler County and Crescent City in Putnam County, our crews need to rebuild the electric infrastructure. This type of work requires manual labor, such as removing trees, installing new poles and re-hanging power lines, which takes longer than standard restoration.”
At one point, FPL had dispatched 15,000 team members, including employees, workers from contracted firms and partner utilities, to respond to the damage. Crews were sent to the north and central locations of St. Lucie, Indian River, Brevard, Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties.
"The significant flooding and damage in Central and North Florida is evidence of Mother's Nature's power and the intensity of a Category Four hurricane," Silagy said. "Additionally, our crews are dealing with vegetation challenges, as many of the badly damaged areas have not experienced these hurricane-force winds for more than a decade."
FPL is following a systematic procedure to deal with outages, addressing multiple locations as efficiently as possible. The utility said it plans to assist other Florida power companies’ efforts once its own goals are met.