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A JEA crew works on power restoration in the Egrets Bluee area after Hurricane Irma in Sept. 2017.
JEA

Utilities would have to come up with a 10-year plan to strengthen and bury power lines and be allowed to pass along the cost to customers under a bill passed by the Florida Senate.

Electric Bills Suspended For Hurricane Victims

Oct 31, 2018

State regulators moved quickly Tuesday to approve the suspension of monthly electric bills for customers of two utilities in areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. 

Electric utility providers in the Florida Panhandle say they're hoping to have nearly all power restored to customers whose homes are equipped to receive it by early November. That's roughly a month after the area was hit by Hurricane Michael.

Missing relatives and worries that looters are just outside the door. Dirty clothes. Hours-long lines for gasoline, insurance adjusters, food and water. No power, no air conditioning, no schools, no information and little real improvement in sight.

Daily life is a series of fears and frustrations, both large and small, for thousands of people living on the edge, more than a week after Hurricane Michael flattened thousands of square miles in the hurricane zone of the Florida Panhandle.

At least 388,000 utility customers lost power as Hurricane Michael crashed ashore --- with potentially catastrophic winds of 155 mph --- between Panama City and St. Vincent Island, before speeding north into Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday.

Cities such as Kissimee, Florida and Lafayette, Louisiana will be sending electrical crews to help with power outages caused by Hurricane Michael. Mayor Andrew Gillum and Utility Director Rob McGarrah say there will be consistent help to get power back as soon as the storm passes.

Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit by power outages and widespread flooding Monday as remnants of the Atlantic season's first hurricane provided an initial test of how far they have recovered from last year's devastating storms.

This Friday, Dec. 15, is the day Puerto Rico’s governor pledged to have all the island’s electric power restored. That’s not going to happen – but some Puerto Ricans have gotten power back after their long, long night in the dark.

Tax Break Proposed For Standby Generators

Nov 21, 2017

A Senate Republican on Monday proposed providing a property-tax exemption for permanently installed generators used to provide power when electricity goes out.

Government watchdog group Integrity Florida says the fox is guarding the henhouse when it comes to Florida’s utilities and their regulators.  The group wants to insulate the Public Service Commission from the political fray in the state Legislature.

When Hurricane Irma slammed into the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alvin Joseph was home in St. Thomas with his wife, his oldest granddaughter and four of his great-grandkids.

As the wind howled, Joseph and his wife went into the little boys’ bedroom to get a mattress and box spring for protection.

“The ceiling tiles had already disappeared out of the roof and we could see the sky,” says Joseph. “By the time we left out of the bedroom to go back in the living room—whoosh—roof was gone.”

We're starting something new on Florida Matters. Once a month we're going to gather together some experienced reporters from around the state for perspective on the important news happening in Florida.

This week we're talking about the consequences of Hurricane Irma, and lessons learned from the storm.

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A paraglider knocked out electricity in a Pinellas County neighborhood after crashing into power lines.

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After a massive restoration effort, most of Florida has power 10 days after Hurricane Irma knocked out electricity to nearly two-thirds of the state, mostly because of improvements made to the power grid since Hurricane Wilma 12 years ago.

Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala wants Florida’s utility companies to stop contributing to campaigns this election cycle and invest in improving equipment instead.

Mark Scheiner/WUSF

Hurricane Irma impacted the entire Tampa Bay area. WUSF has reporters spread out across the region. This county-by-county breakdown will be updated continuously as the storm passes.

We’d like to hear from you before, during and after the storm. If you’re in a safe place, here’s how you can reach us:

  • Reach us on Facebook or on twitter @wusf
  • Email: news@wusfnews.org with your name, location and your situation.
  • Leave us a voice mail on our Florida Matters phone line by calling: 813-396-WUSF.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Hurricane Irma's projected path is moving west and state leaders are urging Floridians to prepare for the worst.

Evacuation orders have been issued and shelters are open.  

Here's a list of shelters, evacuation zones and other need-to-know information as Hurricane Irma approaches: 

SHELTERS

Pinellas County

Florida health officials say after major storms and natural disasters, there’s an increase of carbon monoxide poisoning cases, and they're informing people why and how to prevent it aheadof Hurricane Irma.