As Tropical Storm Gabrielle exits northeast Florida, Florida Power & Light Company is continuing its restoration and damage assessment efforts with a field force of some 7,000 employees and contract workers.
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Many of those workers traveled Friday in convoys to staging sites at the Sarasota Fairgrounds and in North Port at the Toledo Blade Service Center. Crews also are traveling this morning from a staging site in Lake City to bolster restoration efforts in southwest and northeast Florida. The need for additional staging sites and resources in northeast Florida will be assessed today.
Additional progress was made in restoring service overnight and by 6 a.m. Saturday 310,000 FPL customers' homes and businesses remained without power as a result of the storm's destructive pass across the state. Approximately 245,000 customers were without service in the counties FPL serves on Florida's west coast and about 65,000 in counties FPL serves in northeast Florida.
"FPL knows that customers want information that will help you make decisions about how soon your power will be restored and whether to relocate or stay put," said Armando Olivera, FPL senior vice president of power systems. "Restoration of power has already begun in full force. We ask for your patience while our crews work around the clock to restore your power as safely and as quickly as possible."
FPL continues to urge customers to be extremely careful after the storm -- particularly after dark. Stay away from any dangling wires or downed poles and do not to walk into standing water. If you see any sparking wires or downed lines, or to report an outage, please call 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243).
FPL said that customers who have called to report an outage do not need to report it again. FPL will do its best to keep customers updated on restoration plans via the news media and its "Storm Center" site at http://www.fpl.com/ .
As of 6 a.m. Saturday, outages by county were:
Southwest Florida Northeast/Central Florida
Collier - 2,000 Brevard - 1,500
Lee - 13,000 Volusia -- 5,500
Charlotte - 20,000 Flagler -- 17,000
DeSoto - 5,000 Putnam - 11,000
Manatee - 100,000 St. Johns - 30,000
Sarasota - 105,000
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SOURCE: Florida Power & Light Company