Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm, blasted Southwest Florida with 150 mp winds, unprecedented storm surge and flooding. After completing power restoration ahead of schedule in other parts of the state, line crews have been redirected by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) to the region hardest hit by the storm.
As of the morning of Oct. 5, linemen have restored power to about 92 percent of the about 2.1 million FPL customers affected by Hurricane Ian. A workforce of 21,000--including mutual assistance from 30 states--has helped with the restoration effort.
While FPL expects restoration to be essentially complete in Southwest Florida by Friday, Oct. 7, thousands of homes and businesses in the region have been so badly damaged that they may not be able to safely receive electrical service. In areas where search and rescue are still underway, FPL will begin restoration work when emergency officials say it is safe to do so. FPL continues to work closely with emergency responders and emergency management officials to energize areas that can safely receive power.
The massive restoration effort is currently supported by 18 staging and parking sites strategically positioned for the rapid deployment of crews and equipment to help restore power faster. During the peak, FPL had 38 operating bases.
As is historically the case, the first few days of power restoration after Hurricane Ian resulted in large numbers of customers being restored quickly when FPL energized electrical substations and main power lines serving thousands of customers. By the end of Friday – the first full day of restoration work after Ian left the state – FPL had restored power to two-thirds of customers affected by the storm.
However, progress slows as crews focus on the hardest-hit areas. For example, the crews must often contend for hours with significant tree and storm surge damage to access neighborhood power lines and other electrical infrastructure serving only a handful of customers. In some of the hardest-hit areas, multiple specialized tree-trimming crews are needed to clear debris for every traditional line crew working to repair or rebuild infrastructure.
The team at T&D World gives our thanks to all the line crews who responded to the storm. To recognize their hard work in getting the lights back on, we are featuring some of FPL's restoration photos in this photo gallery. If you have other images or stories from Hurricane Ian that you would like to share with us, please email Field Editor Amy Fischbach.