FPL: 'We've Assembled The Largest Restoration Force'
Florida Power and Light has almost 17,000 people working on their team to bring Florida back to power, according to the company's Chief Communications Officer Rob Gould.
The restoration team is three times the size of their average crew and 25 percent more than the crew they established for Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
"To help us get the lights back on and rebuild, we've assembled the largest restoration force, propositioned, not just in our company's history but in the United States," Gould said.
In addition to the teams, there are automated systems put into place to remove debris and clear areas ahead of the teams as well, he said.
Although FPL is fully staffed for the duration of the storm, Gould urged Florida residents to be patient and anticipate multiple power outages.
"I also want to caution all of our customers that it’s very likely they will experience more than one outage during this event and prolonged outages may occur especially in areas, again, where we need to rebuild our system," he said.
More than one million households and businesses in Florida have lost power so far. FPL has already restored electricity to approximately 320,000 customers, but anticipates more outages to come with high tropical storm-force winds.
"Many of our concrete polls, which are rated for 145 mph, especially along the coast will be at risk," he said.
Tropical storm force winds can reach over 150 mph, which can cause these concrete polls to break entirely. According to the National Weather Service, the Keys are still experiencing winds of over 110 mph.
Gould said FPL responds to calls based on population. In order to address the needs of as many homes as possible, the power company will address calls from the most population dense areas first.
While FPL wants Floridians to know they're teams will be sent out as soon as weather clears, they encourage customers to be cautious.
There have been reports of individuals impersonating FPL employees and holding people at gun point in the Fort Lauderdale area, Gould said during the press conference.
Gould said that although there are FPL team members from across the country, all FPL employees and their vehicles will be properly identified.
For more updates, check www.fpl.com/storm and FPL's social media.