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1.4 Million Without Power In Tampa Bay Area

Daylina Miller/WUSF
A road is blocked off in Pasco County due to downed power lines.

More than 1.4 million customers in the Tampa Bay area were still without power as of 3 p.m. Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

Pinellas was hit the hardest with nearly 420,000 customers without power.

Electric power was down to at least half of Hillsborough County customers. TECO was reporting more than 330,000 of its customers in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties were without power. Spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said crews will be working Monday to restore as much power as possible.

"We have crews in the field right now, assessing damage, repairing lines, restoring power as we can," Jacobs said. "Assessment today will be from the ground and from the air, and restoration will continue until folks are all back on and have their power back. We know that's a key to getting life back to normal."

Jacobs is asking people to stay away from downed power lines -- they could be live and pose a danger of electrocution.

With more than 6.5 million people without power throughout the state, it could take some time to restore.

Duke Energy is reporting have 1.2 million customers still without power in the 35 counties they serve in Florida. As of 4 p.m., they’ve restored power to 100,000 statewide.

Company President Harry Sideris said crews should complete their damage assessments no later than Tuesday. By then, they'd have a better idea on how long it will take to restore everyone's power.

"Some areas will be sooner than others, depending on the damage obviously," he said at a Monday afternoon news conference. "We have some areas that we feel like it maybe just fuses and other items that are pretty quick fixes, and other areas obviously have trees, broken power poles, those kind of things that'll take a little longer."

Worst case, Sideris said, power should be restored to all of Duke's Florida customers in no more than a week.

He added that more than 9,000 linemen and support crews will work around the state, including 3,000 in Pinellas County.

"A lot of them have been staged in the area, some of them are in Georgia coming down in the next couple of days, so we have an army of people and rest assured they're not going to sleep until we have everybody back in service," Sideris said.

As of Monday morning, 80 percent of the homes and businesses in Polk County were without power. Lakeland Electric reported 78,430 customers without power, with 57 percent of Duke Energy customers and 63 percent of Tampa Electric customers without power at daybreak Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

South Florida was dealing with the most power outages in the state with 634,000 customers in the dark in Broward County and 827,000 in Miami-Dade County and 557,000 in Palm Beach County.

Florida Power and Light spokesperson Juliet Roulhac said Sunday the time it takes to restore power to everyone will depend on how much damage happened.
"If we are going to rebuild parts of our system, that will take weeks," Roulhac said.

Here's how many customers were without power around the Tampa Bay as of 3 p.m. Monday:

  • Polk -- nearly 207,000 
  • Pasco -- more than 189,000
  • Sarasota -- more than 170,000
  • Manatee -- more than 116,000
  • Pinellas – around 420,000
  • Hillsborough – nearly 263,000
  • Hernando -- more than 57,000

WUSF's Steve Newborn and Mark Schreiner contributed to this story. 

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