Parts of Florida could be without electricity for more than a week, as damage from Hurricane Irma will require a complete rebuild of portions of the electricity grid, utility executives said on Monday.
Duke Energy Florida has mobilized approximately 7,000 line workers, tree professionals, damage assessment and support personnel responding to the outages.
FPL has about 17,000 utility workers ready to help its restoration efforts, which could be significant.
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Hurricane Irma left 5.5 million of the more than 10 million Florida power customers waiting for the electricity to be turned back on. In Miami-Dade County, 815,650 customers are without power, which represents just under 80 percent of FPL's residential and business accounts, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
In Florida, the state's biggest electric company said its outages dipped to 3.3 million from a peak of 3.6 million earlier on Monday. "People need to understand this is going to take perhaps weeks, not days, in some areas", Fanning said.
In Bradford County, where record flooding from Hurricane Irma was seen, around 73 percent of Clay Electric and FPL customers remain affected by outages, a majority of which are around the City of Starke.
State regulators have delayed until September 25 a hearing on a proposal by Florida Power & Light to shut down a jointly owned coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville.
FPL said it would first fix any damage to power plants, transmission lines and substations, then prioritize critical facilities such as hospitals and water treatment plants.
The company also works to restore service to major thoroughfares with supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and other consumer services, before turning to smaller neighborhoods.
Across the country, only about 20 percent of USA power lines are underground, the Energy Information Agency reports. The company said, however, it could request an increase if storm restoration costs exceed $800 million in any calendar year. "We are working on it but do not have that at this time". "However, we're looking at a week or longer from the first look at the widespread damage that we had", Sideris told CNBC's "Closing Bell".
Across Florida and the rest of the Southeast, millions are without power after Hurricane Irma lashed the region with winds over 100 miles per hour, heavy rains and destructive storm surge.