FPL shares Hurricane Ian power update. ‘Traffic is one of our biggest issues.’

Tiffany Tompkins/ttompkins@bradenton.com

With any luck, Florida Power & Light should complete restoration of power to all of its customers by the end of the day Friday.

That includes 18,830 in Manatee County, 69,200 in Sarasota County, and more than 200,000 statewide who were still without power at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, when FPL CEO Eric Silagy delivered his latest update.

But there will be exceptions, including Fort Myers Beach, which is a search-and-rescue area and — in some cases — a recovery area, he said, speaking from a Lee County Civic Center parking lot.

There are also areas which remain inaccessible to crews because of storm damage.

In addition, homes and businesses that suffered damage which makes them unsafe to accept power will take longer.

Customers who notice structural damage to their house or building need to contact a licensed electrician prior to power being restored for an inspection to ensure that it is safe to turn on the power there, he said.

Silagy pledged that workers from FPL and other utilities from 30 states would continue working around the clock to restore power while keeping safety top of mind.

In some cases, it’s like hand-to-hand combat, working backyard to backyard, he said.

Stay off the roads

Asked if there is anything the public could do to assist, Silagy asked for patience and to keep driving to a minimum so that line crews aren’t caught up in traffic.

“Please let our crews through. We’re trying to restore power,” he said. “Traffic is one of our biggest issues now.”

Myakka City area will take longer

Peace River Electric Cooperative was reporting 2,107 outages on Tuesday, including 792 in Manatee County and four in Sarasota County.

Myakka City has experienced widespread flooding and is in the Peace River service area.

Flooded or washed out roads is impeding restoration of electrical service in the Myakka City area, said Mark Sellers, communications coordinator for PRECO.

“The Myakka area is the hardest hit in our service area, and there are some areas we can’t reach because of flooding,” he said.

Other than those inaccessible areas, and damaged homes which have not yet been inspected for safety, Myakka City power should be fully restored by tonight, Sellers said.

There was no ready estimate on how many homes are still considered inaccessible in Myakka City.

The Myakka River at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota County was still at major flood level at 11 feet on Tuesday. Seven feet is considered flood stage.

Danny Cacchiotti, former chief of Myakka Fire Rescue, had high praised for PRECO workers who restored power.

“All those guys did an outstanding job. After Ian, this place looked like a war zone with rows of power poles on the ground. These guys came in and got the job done,” Cacchiotti said.