After Hurricane Irma strafed the Caribbean, it ran up through Florida and into South Carolina and North Carolina in mid-September, putting millions of people in the dark.
Hardest hit in the U.S. was Florida, where an estimated 15.25 million people were without power Sept. 11. The storm caused damage in all 35 counties in Duke Energy’s Florida territory, including damage to the transmission system.
When the electrical system has to be rebuilt, restoration for people in those areas takes longer.
The company said it restored more than 1.9 million customer outages in Florida and more than 400,000 in the Carolinas, mostly in the western mountain regions.
About 4,500 lineworkers and support personnel got the power back on in the Carolinas. More than 12,000 from across the country and Canada helped restore power in Florida.
Irma was the biggest storm to hit Duke Energy in Florida. The company restored more than 1 million customers in Florida in three days, but tornadoes and damage from trees and debris slowed restoration.
Seminole County was one of the hardest-hit, and in Hardee and Highlands counties, northern Volusia County and at the north Orange and Lake County border, extensive damage required rebuilding the electric system.
“I witnessed the compassion of our people as they pulled together and put our customers first, working around-the-clock to restore their power,” said Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good. “It was inspiring. During the response, many employees did not have power themselves.
“In the weeks ahead, we will capture our lessons learned from this event so that we are continuously improving and meeting the needs of our customers.”