Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Buzz

on Florida Politics

400,000 without power in Florida after Hurricane Michael

As Hurricane Michael carved its path across the Florida Panhandle, city after city went dark.

Nearly all of Big Bend and the Panhandle were without power, as was 95 percent of Leon County. That makes more than 400,000 Floridians left without electricity Wednesday night.

As soon as the storm cleared, crews worked to fix downed power lines and restore service to communities from Okaloosa County to Tallahassee and beyond. Here are the latest outage numbers and what some companies are doing to fix them.

On Thursday morning, 366,145 accounts were left without power — that makes up roughly 3.5 percent of the state.

Tallahassee, which has 110,000 total outages, is using mutual aid to dedicate electrical crews to each circuit in the city's system.

According to city officials, the downed trees have caused widespread damage, and restoration estimates are not yet available. As of Thursday, crews were working to rebuild portions of the damaged transmission system and repair transmission lines and circuits.

Around 117,162 Gulf Power customers were in the dark. Gulf Power has 4,000 people from across the country working to restore power in Bay County and other communities in Northwest Florida.

"The Gulf Power system held strong from Pensacola to Fort Walton Beach — a testament to the investments we've made to harden our infrastructure.," said Gulf Power spokesperson Jeff Rogers. "But the hardest hit areas around Panama City may need to be rebuilt from the ground up."

About 30,663 Duke Energy customers also lost power. The company has mobilized 7,000 workers from as far away as Indiana and Ohio to help restore power in the Panhandle.

"We try to restore power where it's safe to do so, but in the event of a natural disaster, we wait until the storm is out of the area," said Duke spokeswoman Shawna Berger. "This was a catastrophic event for our customers in Florida. We are going to have to rebuild some of our infrastructure in the Panhandle."

In addition to Tallahassee, Duke and Gulf Power, 8,318 customers of the Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative also lost power.

The company couldn't be reached for comment.

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