More than half of Collier, Sarasota counties back on the grid as FPL restores power for most across Florida
Image via FPL.

FPL workers Ian
FPL has restored power for more than two-thirds of customers affected by Hurricane Ian.

A majority of customers in Collier and Sarasota counties now have their power back, thanks to the efforts of recovery and utility workers who have reconnected millions of Floridians just days after Hurricane Ian struck.

Between noon Friday and noon Saturday, line workers from Florida Power & Light restored power for almost 65,000 Collier and Sarasota customers — roughly 10% of the total reconnections across the state.

The percentage of customers in Collier fell from 51% to 38%, according to power outage data from the Public Service Commission. And while 53% of customers were powerless Friday, 43% could say the same a day later.

Restoration in other hard-hit counties has been slower. In Charlotte County, there were 7,373 fewer outages Saturday than the day prior. Close to 99,700 customers there — roughly 78% of the total — are still without power.

Lee County, which covers Fort Myers and Cape Coral, was the hardest hit of any along the Gulf Coast and remained mostly in the dark by noon Saturday. Of 471,841 customers there between FPL and the Lee County Electric Cooperative, a nonprofit that purchases all its power through FPL, 73% still await restoration.

But workers are making progress. Over the last 24 hours, they turned the lights on for more than 57,000 Lee County accounts.

Landlocked DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties, which lay east of Sarasota and north of Charlotte and Lee counties, all still have more than half the accounts there disconnected. Of the 57,628 customers across the three counties, 65% are in Highlands.

Overall, FPL’s efforts have been swift and effective. More than 2.1 million accounts linked to FPL powerlines lost electricity due to Ian. By Saturday, one day after the first full day of restoration work, the company, two-thirds of FPL customers — 1.4 million — had power back.

FPL has more than 21,000 line workers on the ground throughout Florida, including professionals from 30 other states. Damage assessment teams are also deployed statewide, and the company’s fixed-wing drone, FPLAir One, was scheduled to conduct its second surveillance mission in Southwest Florida, according to an FPL news release.

“The lives of so many of our fellow Floridians have been changed forever and we know they are counting on us to get the lights on — a critical first step in restoring a sense of normalcy in our devastated community,” FPL Chair and CEO Eric Silagy said in a statement. “The road ahead is challenging, but we won’t back down and we won’t stop working until every customer is restored.”

Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon near Fort Myers at near-Category 5 strength, bringing torrential rain, tornadoes and massive storm surges that flooded a large swath of the Gulf Shore.

The storm is among the deadliest and costliest to ever hit the state. By Saturday morning, 56 Floridians were confirmed dead, and damages were estimated to be “well over $100 billion,” according to disaster modeling firm Karen Clark & Co.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


6 comments

  • Powerman5000

    October 1, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    I have the power!

  • Richard Cornwall

    October 1, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    I like how they help the hardest hit county last. Not even one lineman repair truck in sight. Lee County. Of all the help from throughout the nation. Unfair coordination should be an investigation.

    • joe Smith

      October 2, 2022 at 11:55 am

      Not reasonable….Lee took a direct shot and I probably has complete rebuilds in many areas

  • Charles Donaldson

    October 1, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    I read there would be estimates today for power restoration to Lee County. I cannot find any estimates online other than it will be a month before all power is restored and then a description of the difficulty restoring power to Sanibel by barge. What about mainland Lee County? People need these estimates to make decisions.

  • Teresa

    October 1, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    No we don’t have power!!!!

  • Kathy

    October 3, 2022 at 4:13 am

    We lost power (on Monday morning before hurricane ian) in Sarasota directly next to i75 and we still care without power (and even water for that matter).

Comments are closed.


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