After Irma, how does Florida Power and Light prioritize order of who gets power restored?

Posted at 3:50 PM, Sep 13, 2017

Our newsroom has been inundated with calls, emails and social media posts about Florida Power and Light’s response to the on-going power crisis.

Many residents are asking, waiting and wondering when exactly your power will come back on.


The company has offered little specifics, instead directing people to its website and app. However, that hasn't been enough to placate the public.

FPL leaders continue to say they are "racing to get the lights back on."

They say the restoration process has been four times faster than what Floridians saw during Hurricane Wilma 12 years ago.

However, they still wouldn't address the specific areas they are focusing on in the West Palm Beach viewing area.

“The grid is not symmetrical. The grid doesn't know business from residential, neighborhood from neighborhood,” said Rob Gould, Vice President, Chief Communications Officer of Florida Power and Light.

During a news conference Wednesday, FPL said that of the 4.4 million customers that were without power after Hurricane Irma, in a matter of two days more than 60 percent of that has been restored.

They did admit the website and app are underperforming.

“Right now is up. It is running. It is functioning, but it is intermittent. We’re going to have to continue to work the issue. That is an issue that, candidly with all the volume we’ve seen, is somethings know we need to address," said Gould.

FPL, one of the largest utilities in the country, said they hope to have the lights back on along the east coast by Sunday. The west coast could take another 10 days.

The company continues to point to the benefits of their multi-billion dollar investment into smart grid technology and hardening the grid. However, few people know what that really means.

Most people just want to know what’s taking so long, when they’ll get their lights back on and asking for a timeline.

At the news briefing, WPTV's Alyssa Hyman asked, “Can you explain to people how you make these priorities and where, specifically in our viewing area at least, are your crews are working to address first and foremost?”

The answer:

“We look to make sure our generation facilities are up and running. Then we shift to the critical infrastructure facilities, so water treatment facilities, fire stations, police, hospitals, all of those are critical facilities. Then we go to the feeder lines. Those are the main power lines that are feeding the neighborhood lines. Those main feeder lines, we go after and attack and get them up and running. Then we go after the individual neighborhoods and look to ensure that we are getting those customers up,” said Gould.

On Thursday morning, FPL tweeted that all substations and 1,000 main power lines have been restored in Florida in the wake of Irma.