Canadian hydro crews head south to help restore power in Florida, Caribbean

Credit UWM  SSEC  CIMSS William Straka III

Credit UWM SSEC CIMSS William Straka III

Some 5.8 million homes and businesses in Florida and nearby states still had no power on Tuesday after the pummeling from Hurricane Irma, as utility companies scrambled to get the lights back on in one of the biggest power restoration efforts in USA history.

Before and after photos from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compared the lights on a typical night in the Sunshine State to the drastic loss of light after the storm plowed through the state.

Most outages were in Florida Power & Light's service area in the southern and eastern parts of the state. During that storm, approximately 1,450 Hydro One workers braved hazardous conditions for a total of 97,000 hours to restore power to almost 105,000 customers who were affected at the peak of the storm. In July 2012, Hydro One dispatched 200 employees to Washington, Baltimore and Virginia after a devastating wind storm knocked out power to more than three million homes and businesses.

Hydro One Inc.is a fully owned subsidiary of Hydro One Limited, Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution provider with more than 1.3 million valued customers, $25 billion in assets and annual revenues of over $6.5 billion.

Along with the assistance headed to Florida, Newfoundland-based utility Fortis Inc. said it has sent a team to Turks and Caicos, a group of islands also damaged by the powerful hurricane.

In total about 4.5 million FPL customers were affected by the storm, with more than 1.7 million having their service restored already, mostly by automated devices.

It was too soon to say what the power restoration would cost FPL, but in 2016, the company said it spent about $315 million to restore power after Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, according to NextEra's federal filings.

"You're sacrificing a lot", he said by phone from Florida.

"The industry's Irma response is one of the largest power restoration efforts in USA history", Kuhn said.

Irma, which stretched 650 miles from east to west, has battered at least nine states - flooding city streets, uprooting trees and light poles and destroying homes. Another 65% suffered major damage.

Now a tropical depression, Irma is still expected to bring torrential rainfall as far north as North Carolina. "I cooked a frozen pizza because it was about to go bad", he said, referring to his experience during Wilma.

Florida residents are drifting back from shelters and far-away havens to see Hurricane Irma's scattershot destruction. Hydro One is committed to the communities we serve, and has been rated as the top utility in Canada for its corporate citizenship, sustainability, and diversity initiatives.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

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