Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is urging customers to prepare for power outages as extremely powerful Hurricane Dorian approaches the Florida coastline. The company continues to execute its emergency response plan, pre-positioning workers and equipment in preparation for this Category 3 storm off Florida's coast.
"Hurricane Dorian's track remains unpredictable and there is a razor-thin margin of hurricane force-winds impacting Florida's east coast; therefore, at this juncture, it is impossible to predict how many FPL customers may lose power as a result of this powerful hurricane," said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. "Do not make assumptions about the current track of this storm. Stay vigilant and be prepared: If you live in the cone of uncertainty, you could experience severe weather and power outages. Even if Florida doesn't take a direct impact, we anticipate significant effects, including powerful tropical storm-force winds, possible tornadoes, storm surge and flooding from this slow-moving storm. These effects will create challenges with trees toppling, debris and vegetation blowing into our lines, which may require crews to repair large parts of our energy grid."
FPL anticipates that a large portion of its service area will feel the impacts of potential tropical storm-force winds from Dorian and may experience power outages. Customers are urged to take the time now to prepare for potentially prolonged outages. Additionally, given the nature of the approaching storm and expected vegetation-related impacts on FPL equipment, some customers may experience more than one outage throughout the duration of the storm. Trees are the leading cause of outages, so FPL proactively clears tree branches, palm fronds and other vegetation from more than 15,000 miles of power lines every year. Following severe weather, our crews must cut away trees and other vegetation that have fallen into power lines, or that are in the way, to find and fix damage safely and as quickly as possible. Workers will operate bucket trucks and restore service in between bands of severe weather, as long as winds are below 35 MPH and conditions are safe.
"We understand the anxiety many of our customers are feeling as this dangerous storm looms off our coast, and we want to reassure them that we're ready to respond," Silagy added. "We've assembled the largest pre-storm restoration workforce in company history with a workforce of approximately 16,000 hardworking men and women committed to restoring power as the first bands of severe weather impact our service area. They will work around the clock to restore power safely and as quickly as possible. We ask our customers to be patient and prepare for the potential of extended power outages, including customers who experience non-storm related outages. As long as it's safe, we'll be out there restoring power and we won't stop working until every customer's electricity is back on."
FPL urges customers to complete their final preparations, heed warnings and evacuation orders from local, state and federal officials and prepare for potential prolonged outages in areas where vegetation and flooding present challenges. Most importantly, make safety the highest priority. If you come to an intersection with a non-working traffic signal, Florida law requires you treat it as a four-way stop. Be sure to heed the Move Over Law, and move over and slow down whenever there is a utility worker, law enforcement officer or a first responder on the side of the road.
"I also want to extend my gratitude to our partners in law enforcement, first responders and the FDOT who are helping us keep the roads clear and safe to allow additional restoration crews into the state, so we can be ready to restore power safely and as quickly as possible," said Silagy.
FPL, which serves 10 million people through roughly 4.9 million customer accounts, had to restore power to 4.4 million customers because of Hurricane Irma, which traveled up the state from the Keys to Jacksonville in September 2017.
Restoration took about 10 days before it was considered completed to all but the most-damaged propertie