Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Outages Post-Hurricane Ian Down to Less Than 500,000 in Florida

There were approximately 394,000 customer outages in Florida as a result of Hurricane Ian as of the afternoon of October 4, down from a peak of 2.7 million customers without power, the Department of Energy reported.

Ian made its initial landfall near Port Charlotte, Fla., as a category 4 hurricane on September 28.

Outages in Florida were down 85% from the peak on September 29, DOE said.

Within six days of Hurricane Ian making landfall in Florida, Florida’s public power utilities have restored power to 99.99 percent of all customers capable of accepting electric service, the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) said on Oct. 5.

One of the most disastrous hurricanes in Florida’s history, Hurricane Ian impacted two-thirds of Florida’s 33 public power utilities with peak outages reaching 212,344 customers.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, October 4, nearly 100 percent of the more than 1.5 million Florida public power customers across the state are receiving electricity. A small number of customers are unable to accept electricity due to excessive damage, damages to their homes, or significant flooding. Utilities will continue to work diligently to restore power to these remaining customers, FMEA said.

“From towns and cities near and far, crews large and small flocked to Florida following Hurricane Ian last week to help Florida public power communities restore power. We can't thank all the responding mutual aid crews enough for working long hours in tough conditions to help Floridians get power back to their homes and businesses,” said Amy Zubaly, Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Executive Director. “This week during Public Power Week we can truly celebrate one of the many benefits of public power – being able to lean on other public power communities for help in times of need.” 

Through its nationwide network of support, FMEA was able to secure more than 750 line resources from 125 utilities in 22 states to provide mutual aid and assist with power restoration efforts in Florida following Hurricane Ian.

Restoration efforts continue across Florida. Electric industry representatives report that at the peak, more than 44,000 workers from 33 states and the District of Columbia were supporting power restorations.

Overall, Florida utilities report that Ian mainly impacted the distribution system, with no significant damage reported to transmission assets.

DOE said portions of the electric distribution system will need to be rebuilt in some of the hardest hit areas of Florida.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Santee Cooper on Oct. 3 reported that it restored 70,000 customers within 54 hours after Hurricane Ian directly hit its service territory, making landfall at Winyah Bay in Georgetown County Friday. All customers who lost power because of Hurricane Ian were restored by 8:02 p.m. Sunday. 

Santee Cooper is the state-owned public power utility in South Carolina.

Crews worked around the clock to restore all residential and commercial customers, with the help of 34 contract line crews and 12 tree crews from across the southeast. Amongst the restoration, these crews replaced 20 power poles and 32 transformers. 

Hurricane Ian also knocked 12 transmission lines out of service, affecting power delivery to six electric cooperatives and other Santee Cooper retail customers.

The cooperatives impacted were Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Santee Electric Cooperative, Marlboro Electric Cooperative, and Lynches River Electric Cooperative, Horry Electric Cooperative and Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative.

Santee Cooper had 10 external transmission line and tree crews, plus four helicopters and crews, helping its internal team.

All transmission delivery points were reenergized by Friday night, just hours after Ian left the Santee Cooper footprint.