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Update: FPL is optimistic in our case - "On Tuesday, the company announced that it expected to have the lights back on by the end of the weekend for the east coast."
Re: Mine is still off, but I'm good on generator. -- Russ Walden Post Reply Top of thread Forum

Posted by: TEEBONE

09/13/2017, 16:01:10

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miamiherald.com

Florida swelters and asks: When will power and AC be back?


By GARY FINEOUT Associated Press



In
a state built on air conditioning, millions of Florida residents now
want to know one thing: When will the power come back on?

Hurricane
Irma's march across Florida and into the Southeast triggered one of the
bigger blackouts in U.S. history, plunging as many as 13 million people
into the dark as the storm dragged down power lines and blew out
transformers. It also shattered the climate-controlled bubbles that
enable people to live here despite the state's heat, humidity and
insects.

Those who evacuated ahead of the hurricane are returning
to homes without electricity and facing the prospect of days or even
weeks with little to ease the late-summer stickiness.

"Power, power, power," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. "The biggest thing we've got to do for people is get their power back."

The
Irma blackout is still much smaller than a 2003 outage that put 50
million people in the dark. More than 50,000 utility workers some from
as far away as Canada and California are responding to the crisis,
according to the association that represents the nation's investor-owned
utilities.

The state's largest utility, Florida Power &
Light, said Irma caused the most widespread damage in company history,
affecting all 35 counties in its territory, which is most of the state's
Atlantic coast and the Gulf Coast south of Tampa.

On Tuesday, the
company announced that it expected to have the lights back on by the
end of the weekend for the east coast. Customers living in the hard-hit
neighborhoods in southwest Florida, where damage was much more
extensive, were expected to get power restored within 10 days.

While
acknowledging the public's frustration, utility officials said they are
getting power back on faster than they did after Hurricane Wilma hit
the state 12 years ago. The company said it had already restored service
to nearly 1.8 million customers.

Any disaster that wipes out
electrical service hits especially hard in the South, where tens of
millions of Americans rely on the cocoon of comfort provided by air
conditioning. Without it, many cities could barely exist, let alone
prosper. When the lights go out in Florida, the muggy, buggy reality can
be jarring even to longtime residents.

There were signs on social
media that some people were growing angry and tired of waiting. Others
steeled themselves for an extended period without electricity.

Standing
in front of a produce cooler at a reopened Publix grocery store in
Naples, Missy Sieber said the worst thing about not having electricity
is not having air conditioning.

"It's miserably hot," Sieber said. "I don't mind standing in line here."

There's
no immediate cool-off in sight. The forecast for the next week in
Naples and Miami, for instance, calls for highs in the upper 80s (lower
30s Celsius) and lows barely falling below 80 degrees (27 degrees
Celsius). Humidity will hover between 70 and almost 80 percent.

Dan
Eckler sat next to his luggage Tuesday at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood
International Airport, waiting for a ride after scoring a seat on one of
the few arriving flights after the airport reopened.

"I'm soaking
up a few last minutes of AC before I return to my house with no
electricity," said Eckler, 46, who lives in Fort Lauderdale and went 16
days without power during Hurricane Wilma.

"You learn what you can
cook on your grill. I cooked a frozen pizza because it was about to go
bad," he said, referring to his experience during Wilma. "And you
finally meet your neighbors."

In Miami, firefighters evacuated a
building in the suburb of Coral Gables that had been without power since
Sunday, concluding that it was not safe for elderly tenants. The most
delicate evacuee was a 97-year-old woman who had to be brought down 12
flights of stairs.

Madeleine Alvarez tried unsuccessfully to get
an ambulance to transport her Cuban-born mother who suffers from
congestive heart failure.

"Doctors are telling me not to move her.
Fire officials say we should evacuate. I don't know what to do. Any
change can make her very excited and sick," said Alvarez, who planned to
take her mother to a hospital to be examined and then to a hotel
because her own home had no electricity yet.

Irma's arrival came
in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which created widespread outages in
Texas. Some three weeks after Harvey, at least 10,700 customers in that
state remained without power. Many of those were homes and businesses
that will have to undergo repairs before they are ready to receive
electricity again.

In Houston, about 4,000 customers were without
power as many homes remained flooded due to water releases from two
reservoirs that were filled by Harvey's torrential rainfall.

Back
in Naples, Sieber and her husband and 9-year-old son have been using a
generator to run a small air conditioner in a bedroom at night.

"It makes you count your blessings," she said.

___

Associated Press Writer Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.










LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATE



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