Florida Utility Aims to Restore Power to Most Customers by Late Friday

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(Bloomberg) — Florida Power & Light, the biggest utility in the state, plans to restore electricity to 95% of its customers by late Friday after Hurricane Ian severely damaged the electrical grid and killed at least 68 people.

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Ian knocked out power for 2.6 million homes and businesses after striking Florida on Wednesday afternoon. About 2.1 million FPL customers lost power and the utility has restored power to about 83% of them, with about 361,000 customers still in the dark. 

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“It’s been 76 hours since Ian, which was a monster storm, left Florida,” chief executive Eric Silagy said at a news conference Monday morning in Collier County, standing in front of a room of damaged electric equipment the hurricane filled with sand and patio furniture. “We’re going to be able to get this done faster than I thought.”

FPL, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc., initially focused on restoring power to critical infrastructure like water treatment centers and emergency responders. Severe destruction in some areas made grid assessment difficult due to obstacles like washed-out roadways and bridges, but FPL used a drone, airboats and even a kayak to evaluate damage to the electrical grid. 

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