Going gets tough … but tougher FPL workers punching through
Once again, I had the opportunity to spend all day on the road with our crews, beginning in the northern region of our service territory at St. Augustine, then onto Daytona and finally Melbourne.
The damage from Hurricane Irma is consistent with what we’ve been seeing in other parts of our service territory. Many of the communities we serve are located along the coasts, and these places bore the brunt of a slow-moving hurricane with powerful winds and flooding.
As we go neighborhood by neighborhood, we continue to see that fallen trees have pulled down power lines, whole trees and other debris are blocking roads, and flooding has left some areas impassable.
The force of Mother Nature is not to be underestimated. That was never more evident than at one of our job sites in South Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County. Irma made her presence known when the roof of a home adjacent to the ocean literally ripped away and landed in our lines.
In other parts of our service territory like Coral Gables, where the community is full of large trees off of our right-of-way, we are working with state and local authorities, including the Florida Department of Transportation, to help us clear roads so our crews can do their jobs. Even with help, we’re still facing an uphill battle in the hardest-hit areas because of these unexpected, on-the-ground challenges. This is frustrating for our crews, but know that they’re working tirelessly to get into these areas and get the lights on.
Also today, I continued to meet with public officials to help them understand what our field forces are up against so that they’re better prepared to respond to their constituents.
Our crews also are seeing brutal – and potentially dangerous – conditions in the field. We put safety above everything else here at FPL, so I’d like to ask for your support in helping our crews work as safely as possible. Sadly, one of our contractors was injured recently by a vehicle that did not move over. Please remember that Florida law requires drivers to move over and slow down whenever there is a utility worker on the side of the road. Lives depend on this – I thank you in advance for moving over to keep workers along the road safe.
At the same time, I want to urge you to make safety your first priority as well. Stay far away from downed power lines and please, keep generators well away from your home to prevent fumes from entering.
Thank you for your patience, and please know that we’re doing all we can to help your lives return to normal as quickly as possible.