More than 680,000 Duke Energy customers in Florida have no power as a result of Hurricane Ian.
Duke Energy reported restoring power to more than 185,000 Florida homes or businesses by 2 p.m. today (Sept. 29).
Parts of Gulfport did not lose power, while other parts have already had power restored. Still others – including this reporter – have yet to have power restored.
Pinellas customers can expect to know when Duke thinks it might get power restored in their neighborhood no later than 8 p.m. this evening – with a caveat. Those estimated restoration times are for the majority of the customers in those areas, not all, and do not include customers who, for whatever, can’t receive power.
For example, customers whose homes (or businesses) flooded cannot receive power until a licensed electrician inspect the electrical system, Duke officials wrote in a press release, adding, “if there is damage, an electrician will need to make repairs and obtain verification from your local building inspection authority before power can be restored.”
“We are surveying damaged areas now and power restoration for our Florida customers is underway,” Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida’s state president, said. “We want customers to know we are committed to working as quickly and safely as possible to get the lights back on. We thank all our customers for their patience.”
Here’s how the process works: Crews will assess how bad the damage is and what manpower and equipment the repairs in each area will need. This can take 24 hours, or longer. If it’s possible for them to do so, the crews will restore power while completing that assessment.
Duke Energy officials says that not every impacted neighborhood will have crews working immediately.
“The first priority is to repair large power lines and other infrastructure that will return power to the greatest number of customers as quickly and safely as possible,” Duke Energy staff wrote in a press release.
The Duke Energy outage map has updated information about power outages, including the total number of outages and estimated restoration times, when available (for much of Gulfport, at press time, no such estimates were available on the map, but, well, hope springs eternal.)
Duke also shared its safety tips:
- Stay away from fallen or sagging power lines that have fallen, and assume all lines and things touching them are live.
- Generators are great. Don’t run them inside, not even your garage.
- If you have crews in your area, turn off your generator. The load on the power line can cause the workers serious harm.
- Water conducts electricity. Stay away from, don’t drive over, and don’t stand near downed power lines.