Gabrielle's Winds, Rains Hit West Coast; FPL Urges Safety Near Downed Lines
September 14, 2001

Florida Power & Light Company reports approximately 220,000 customers on Florida's west coast from Bradenton to Naples and across central Florida are out of service early today following the overnight onslaught of high winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm Gabrielle. In some west coast areas, restoration already has begun.


"Approximately 7,000 Florida Power & Light crews, contractors and support personnel are ready to begin restoration efforts as soon as the storm passes. Until then, we urge our customers to take whatever precautions necessary to keep themselves and their families as safe as possible," said Armando Olivera, senior vice president of power systems. "We ask customers to be extremely careful after the storm and stay away from any dangling wires or downed poles and not to walk into standing water. If you see any sparking wires or downed lines, please call 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243)."

Service restoration already is underway in southwest Florida counties where the storm first impacted FPL's service area. FPL expects additional outages to occur throughout the day today across the middle of the state and along the east coast as the rapidly moving storm continues along its present path toward the Atlantic.

  At 10 a.m., outage totals by county reported along the west coast were:

  Lee - 55,000         Collier - 15,000         Charlotte - 30,000
  Sarasota - 45,000         Manatee - 70,000         DeSoto - 5,000

Those numbers may increase as bands of weather associated with the storm continue to move through the area. FPL urges all customers to:

* Stay away from downed lines, flooding and debris.

* Don't walk in standing water and don't venture out in the dark because you might not see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous.

* If you plan to use a portable generator, run it outside and connect appliances to it -- do not wire it directly to your circuit breaker or fuse box.


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SOURCE: Florida Power & Light Company

Contact: Corporate Communications, Florida Power & Light Company,