Power has been restored for 6.3 million Floridians following Hurricane Irma’s assault on the Sunshine State.
Power has been restored to more than 6.3 million homes and businesses. https://t.co/VGZOnBBt6W
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) September 18, 2017
Only 349 Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) customers remain without power.
Hospitals, law enforcement, fire stations, wastewater plants, lift stations and shelters are GRU’s first priority, said GRU spokeswoman Margaret Crawford. After that, the priority is to help as many people in as short amount of time as possible.
Dozens utility crews from around the country came to help GRU gets it’s customers back up after the storm.
“We were expecting a strong storm. We received a combination of wind gusts and rain that was impactful to our systems,” Crawford, said. “We are happy with our progress.”
GRU received help from utility crews from Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Connecticut and Tallahassee. In total, there are 46 GRU crews and 103 mutual aid crews working on power lines. Additionally, there are 27 GRU crews and 42 mutual aid crews working on trees.
“We are working as efficiently and safely as possible to restore everyone’s power,” Crawford said.
Jennifer Weber, 44, of Gainesville, celebrated when power was restored on Friday to her Arredondo Estates home after living without for nearly a week.
“When (GRU) restored the power up the street, everyone shouted hoorays and the guys shouted back. The linemen in huge white trucks were friendly and caring when we spoke to them the previous evening,” Weber said. “When they pulled in the neighborhood, you would have thought we were receiving rock stars.”
Weber’s mother-in-law suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had to be rushed to the emergency room due to the heat and problems with her breathing.
“The linemen were very understanding and sympathetic,” Weber said.
Weber has suffered through hurricanes before, but Irma struck a special kind of fear into her. She purchased candles and water in preparation, but it wasn’t enough. She made it through the week, but realistically, she said, she had only prepared for three days.
“This one seemed much more frightening because of the news reports and the gas shortages,” Weber said.
Weber’s neighbors were kind and supportive throughout the week without power.
“Arredondo Estates came together to clean up and help one another,” she said.
GRU is grateful to all the utility companies that pitched in to help.
Thank you again to all of the crews that came out to support our Gainesville Community after the hurricane. https://t.co/OzYtlB2pmq
— GRUStormCentral (@GRUStormCentral) September 16, 2017
It’s customers are equally happy:
.@GRUStormCentral I think you're doing a FANTASTIC job with all the outages. I'm one of them and am on 26th St.
— Trevor Tezel (@TrevorTezel) September 15, 2017
To report a power outage for GRU, call 352-334-2871.
For statewide power outage numbers, follow @FLSERT or click on http://www.floridadisaster.org/info/outage_reports/latest.pdf