Florida Power Official Makes Unheard-of Prediction for Crippled Electrical Grid: Even in a state used to hurricane damage, the power and scope of Hurricane Irma was unprecedented as it swept through Florida, and the recovery effort is likely going to be unprecedented too, especially when it comes to restoring electric power to the Sunshine State’s battered residents.
Robert Gould, Florida Power & Light’s vice president and chief communications officer, said the monstrous storm would likely necessitate a “wholesale rebuild” of the electrical grid on Florida’s Gulf Coast, according to ABC.
“That will take weeks,” Gould explained. “This thing is a monster.”
As of Monday morning, roughly 4 million people were without power in the wake of the storm, according to CNBC.
Florida Power & Light, the state’s biggest power company, had at least 11,000 crew members on standby to restore power once Irma had made its way through the state, according to WLRN.
Ninety percent of the company’s customers live within 20 miles of the coastline.
“I can say this with certainty. We have arguably one of the strongest grids in America, but no grid is designed to be able to withstand a Category 5 storm,” Gould said.
He also warned that many Floridans would be without power for a while due to dangerous conditions following the storm.
“We expect, given the fact the storm has slowed down, many of our customers will be out for a day or longer, given that, much like emergency responders, our crews cannot get out and work. It’s just too dangerous,” Gould told the Sun Sentinel.
When restoration operations begin, priority will be given to the company’s own power plants, substations and wrecked transmission lines. Then, the company will focus on hospitals, police and fire stations, water treatment plants and communication facilities. Gas stations, supermarkets, pharmacies and community centers will follow.
Fortunately, the electrical situation wasn’t as bad as other places affected by Hurricane Irma, such as Puerto Rico, where officials estimated it could take half a year to completely restore power.
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