FPL said it expects to restore essentially all of its customers in the eastern portion of Florida by the weekend and the harder-hit western portion of the state by September 22.
As the storm weakens as it heads toward Georgia, outages have leveled off or even declined at some Florida utilities, while increasing in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. Massive power outages crippled much of the southeast Tuesday.
Floridians who weathered the historic storm must now cope with an unprecedented loss of power: About 15 million people were without electricity across the state, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday. The state's emergency management officials said the storm cut power to more than 6.5 million account holders across the state as of Monday afternoon. The utility serves 1.8 million customers in the state, from the Florida panhandle south to the central part of the state.
At least five people have died at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said during a press conference Wednesday morning.
Eric Silagy, the CEO of Florida Power & Light, said Irma caused the most widespread damage in the company's history. That includes a 57-year-old man struck by a tree limb during the storm in Calhoun Falls; a 54-year-old man who died in a mobile home because of carbon monoxide poisoning while a generator was running; and a man who died in a vehicle crash in Richland County. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the top killers as people turn to gas stoves to stay warm or use portable generators to power their refrigerators or air conditioners.
"This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in US history", said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group. Nonetheless, FPL stated it has the largest restoration workforce in us history responding to the electric power outages.
"I don't have any family members where they have power that we can go to", said Wilcox.
More than 60,000 workers from across the United States and Canada were involved in the restoration efforts, including those from the affected companies and other utilities, according to the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group. The St. Lucie nuclear plant took two direct hits weeks apart in 2004 from hurricanes Frances and Jeanne and also sustained no damage.