(Reuters) – More than 1.9 million homes and businesses in Florida were still without power on Friday after Hurricane Ian barreled across the state on Wednesday and Thursday.
That is down from more than 3.5 million power customers affected by Ian since it hit Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday as utilities restored service after the storm passed through their territories.
A resurgent Hurricane Ian was currently headed for a second landfall in South Carolina on Friday, where power outages were starting to grow as the storm approaches.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Ian, which strengthened from a tropical storm back into a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean after crossing Florida, was accelerating toward the South Carolina coast and would produce “life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds.”
The system was located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) and was packing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, the NHC said.
North Carolina energy company Duke Energy Corp said it was readying crews to respond to potential power outages across the Carolinas.
In Florida, the utility with the most outages was Florida Power & Light Co (FPL), a unit of Florida energy company NextEra Energy Inc.
FPL said it had already restored service to over 1 million customers affected by the storm, but “anticipates some customers will face prolonged outages because portions of the electric system in Southwest Florida will need to be rebuilt rather than repaired.”
FPL said it had increased its restoration workforce from around 13,000 before the storm hit to more than 21,000 personnel, including mutual assistance from utilities and others in 30 states.
Major outages by utility:
Power Company State/Pro Out Now Customers Served
NextEra – FPL FL 967,400 5,280,000
Duke – Florida FL 462,000 1,766,000
Lee County Electric Co-op FL 213,000 238,000
Emera – Tampa Electric FL 193,900 800,000
Peace River Electric Co-op FL 36,600 55,200
Orlando Utilities Commission FL 26,900 269,000
Lakeland Electric FL 25,800 133,500
New Smyrna Beach Utilities FL 23,000 29,900
Glades Electric Co-op FL 11,200 17,000
Dominion – South Carolina SC 10,900 790,100
Total Out 1,970,700
Source: Company web sites, PowerOutage.us
(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Mark Potter and Bill Berkrot)