Lights still out for 5.8 million USA customers after Irma


More than 80 percent of Floridians have gotten their power restored after Hurricane Irma roared through the state.

The total number of customers still out, representing about 9 million people in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, dipped from a peak of more than 7.8 million customers, or over 16 million people, on Monday. Almost 25 percent of all customers in Miami-Dade County still don't have power. By comparison, only 4 percent of 3.2 million customer outages following Hurricane Wilma in 2005 were addressed in the same time. Thursday morning, FPL officials said they have restored power to 70 percent of customers.

FPL said after repairing any damage to its power plants and the lines that carry electricity from the generating facilities, the company next restores "critical facilities", like hospitals, police and fire stations, communication facilities, water treatment plants, transportation providers and shelters.

Irma has caused 36 deaths in the United States so far, some of those due to intense Florida heat as residents without electricity are forced to go without air conditioning.

FPL, like other utilities, follows a plan to restore power to the largest number of customers as quickly as possible.

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The state's gas supplies were severely disrupted before and during the storm as ports were closed, cutting Florida off from waterborne deliveries the state relies on. "However, we're not responsible for spoiled food from an act of nature such as hurricanes", the company said in a tweet. FPL said it is on track to end the restoration period Sunday.

That surcharge was capped at around $4 per month for the average residential customer, according to NextEra's 2016 annual report.

Florida's second biggest power company, Duke, serving the northern and central parts of the state, said it still had about 1.2 million outages Tuesday morning, according to the company's website, while Duke's outages in North and SC climbed to about 160,000.

Some people might get their power Thursday, some Friday, some Saturday and the rest Sunday.

About 120 employees are from Ohio Edison, with about 30 from the Akron/Kent area.