Florida Power & Light Company today said a majority of customers who lost power in the wake of Tropical Storm Gabrielle will have service restored by late tonight, with the remainder to be essentially restored by tomorrow night.
A force of approximately 7,000 employees and contract workers are taking advantage of diminishing winds and rains to replace wires and other electrical equipment damaged by the storm.
Gabrielle's winds -- just short of hurricane force levels -- and heavy rains left approximately 400,000 of FPL's more than 3.9 million customers without service in a wide path from Manatee to Collier counties on the west coast and Brevard to St. Johns counties on the east coast.
"We remain very focused on making sure we get all of our customers back with full electric service as quickly and as safely as possible," said Armando Olivera, senior vice president of power systems.
The safety of FPL's crews and customers remains a priority, said Mr. Olivera, adding, "Now that the winds and rains are diminishing it is easy to become complacent and forget that downed wires still could be energized and dangerous. We urge customers to call us at 1-800-4OUTAGE if they see a downed power line or electrical equipment that is sparking and dangerous."
As of 10 a.m. Saturday, FPL still had approximately 290,000 homes and businesses without power. Outages by county are:
Charlotte -- 18,000 Collier -- 1,000 DeSoto -- 5,000
Lee -- 8,000 Manatee -- 95,000 Sarasota -- 100,000
Volusia -- 5,000 Flagler -- 17,000 Putnam -- 11,000
St. Johns -- 30,000
SOURCE: Florida Power & Light Company