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Florida power outages from storm at 6.2 million, officials say
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Florida power outages from storm at 6.2 million, officials say

Florida power outages from storm at 6.2 million, officials say
Photo Credit: � 2017 Cox Media Group.

Florida power outages from storm at 6.2 million, officials say

Around 6.2 million customers were without power in Florida Sunday night as Hurricane Irma worked its way up the state's west coast. 

The largest number of customers without power, more than 3.3 million, were with Florida Power and Light. 

Duke Energy reported more than 1.2 million customers were without power and Tampa Electric reported about 328,000 customers in the dark.

>>Scroll for outage maps<<

The number of customers without power jumped by more than 400,000 in 15 minutes between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

Hurricane Irma: When power goes out, who gets it back first?

Residents should expect numerous toppled trees and widespread power outages, certified Meteorologist Brian Shields said.

As power is turned back on, officials warn that people may see sparks and small fires from lines that were damaged but not quite downed. They urge residents to call the power company if they see this and report it. 

OUC

Interactive map: OUC power outages

Orlando Utility Commission officials said 60 percent of their customers are without power. 

Officials urge residents who see a noticeable drop in their water pressure to boil their water, since crews are still assessing the full extent of damage to water mains.

The utility has 450 linemen and 250 tree trimmers coming from other states.

“Throughout the next few days, you’re going to see bucket trucks from all over the country descending here in Central Florida,” said OUC spokesperson Tim Trudell.

>>> If you lose power, watch WFTV here <<<

Customers should report outages to 407-423-9018 or click here.

FPL

Interactive map: FPL power outages

Florida Power and Light released the following statement: 

FPL anticipates widespread destruction throughout its service area with significant impacts to the most densely populated areas. 

FPL has more than 16,000 workers from nearly 30 states, including as far away as California, dedicated to planning and preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma. Because the track of this storm is unclear, many utilities along the East Coast and Gulf Coast are holding onto their crews until they know what is headed their way.

FPL has activated more than 20 staging sites throughout the service area, where restoration crews, trucks and equipment are being stationed.

In Volusia County, the initial staging site is the Daytona International Speedway. 

Latest FPL outage numbers:

Read: Essential Hurricane Numbers for Central Florida

FPL’s goal is to continue providing customers with power through the storm, until it’s no longer possible to do so. FPL has no plans to shut down power to its customers. 

FPL expects 3.4 million customers may lose power as a result of Irma and could experience prolonged outages, based on the current forecast. 

FPL’s nuclear power plants are prepared for hurricanes. Finalized plans are in place to safely shut down nuclear plants well in advance of Irma’s impacts, and FPL will let customers know when they are shut down.

“FPL has built the most sophisticated and strongest power grid in the nation. Our goal is to continue providing our customers power now and during the storm. To be clear, FPL has no plans to shut down power to its customers. In fact, we have adequate power to continue serving all customers. After the storm hits, our crews will begin working to restore power as soon as conditions are safe. Once restoration begins in earnest, our goal is to get as many customers up and running as soon as possible and we will not stop until all power is restored.”

SECO Energy

Interactive map: SECO power outages

SECO Energy released the following statement:

"Tropical storm winds will likely affect SECO's area before the storm makes landfall in south Florida on Sunday. Bucket trucks cannot operate in high wind conditions. When winds exceed 35 mph, restoration efforts are curtailed due to safety. It is possible with the hurricane timing and intensity that SECO won't be able to conduct restoration activity beginning Saturday night until winds subside on Monday.  SECO members should expect power to be off for an extended period of time due to hurricane-force winds."

Duke Energy

Interactive map: Duke power outages

Duke Energy officials are urging residents to report outages while crews commence damage assessments. 

Duke Energy Florida is mobilizing approximately 7,000 line workers, tree professionals, and damage assessment and support personnel to safe locations where they are prepared to respond to outages once Hurricane Irma reaches Florida. 

Assistance from across the United States and Canada, including company resources from the Midwest, is on the way to assist with restoration efforts. Crews and equipment will be staged close to Florida on Saturday and Sunday. The staging area affords rapid response but provides enough distance to ensure the safety of crews and resources. 

Duke Energy - through the Southeastern Electric Exchange, a mutual assistance organization - has agreements with other utilities and contract companies to ensure the necessary resources can be brought to Florida from throughout the Southeast. 

"Due to the tremendous size and strength of the hurricane, our No. 1 concern is the safety of our customers and crews," said Luis Ordaz, Duke Energy Florida storm director. "Hurricane Irma is a major storm capable of causing significant damage. As we prepare to respond, it's important our customers take Hurricane Irma seriously and ensure their families are safe." 

In addition to making safety a priority, customers should also prepare for significant, widespread power outages. 

KUA

Interactive map: KUA power outages

The Customer Service Center is available Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. excluding holidays to respond to online requests. If you need immediate attention, please call 407-933-9800 24-hours a day.

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  • First it was Pizzagate. The completely bogus 2016 election conspiracy theory that almost resulted in tragedy at my neighborhood pizza joint, spurred by the ridiculous assertion that supporters of Hillary Clinton were running a child sex ring out of Comet Ping Pong Pizza in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A year later in December of 2017, the conspiracy theorists are back on my doorstep. This time, instead of my family’s favorite pizza parlor, they’re after my long time hobby, convinced that a woman with ties to Fusion GPS got a ham radio license in order to hide communications to help a bid to undermine President Donald Trump’s campaign. The focus is on a woman named Nellie Ohr, who is married to a top Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Why she was working with the group Fusion GPS – which was paying a former British intelligence agent to put together the Trump Dossier – is certainly something of note. But the idea that Ohr was using ham radio for secret communications with Steele on the dossier, or items related to the Trump campaign – is somewhat laughable to me and many in the amateur radio community. RT ARmastrangelo: Now we're learning that they were communicating by ham radio. Robert Ohr's wife even applied for a ham radio license so that nobody could monitor them during their Trump investigation, while they prepared the dossier. Real cute. — Ex-GOP Ronin! (@ShawDeuce) December 15, 2017 And just like with Pizzagate, there are no actual facts to back up claims like that one on Twitter about the ham radio link – but that hasn’t stopped it from making the quick jump from social media to talk radio. “Now we find out that Robert Ohr’s wife applied for a ham radio license?” said Rush Limbaugh as he opened his show on December 14, not even three full days after it surfaced on Twitter. “They were communicating by ham radio,” Limbaugh declared with authority, adding that it was an effort to get around monitoring efforts of the National Security Agency, evidently to facilitate contacts by Orr and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Sigh. Let’s start with this question – could Nellie Orr use ham radio to be in contact with Steele in England, or others on the European continent? Take it from me – a few weeks ago, I was furiously trying to make as many contacts as possible with European ham radio operators – it wouldn’t be easy for someone with a new license like hers. And I could come up with a lot better choices. @jamiedupree Can't quit laughing about this talk of KM4UDZ using her 'ham radio' to write a campaign document. idiots know nothing about subject OR who she was communicating with or which band (&amp; it's limitation) – ridiculous. — Jim Bowman (@W4DFS) December 14, 2017 “It would be one of the least efficient communication methods one could choose,” said David Isgur, the Communication Manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for ham radio in the U.S. As Isgur pointed out to me in an email from ARRL HQ, not only would you need good antennas, and some good knowledge about when signals are the best between the United States and Europe, but Ohr’s license grade is a “Technician,” which is the lowest level license issued by the FCC. Hams who are “Technicians” have the smallest amount of privileges on the various amateur radio frequencies. Most of her frequencies would support very local communication, not even out of state, let alone across the country, or across the ocean  to Europe. And with her license, class, the best way she could communicate with someone in Europe would be in Morse Code – and that’s not easy for a beginner (it isn’t part of the license requirement any longer in the United States). But like Pizzagate, those kind of facts don’t matter to those who want to spread this story. The ham radio angle seems to have originated with a Twitter user who goes by the handle @TruthinGov2016, who found that Nellie Ohr had applied for an amateur radio license, and been granted the call sign KM4UDZ. Why is Nellie Ohr communicating via amateur HAM radio and with who? Here’s her call sign. You can listen in. https://t.co/NEYPPj1dIq pic.twitter.com/TmS2rGLzmm — TruthInGovernment (@TruthinGov2016) December 12, 2017 That tweet on December 11, would quickly gain attention on social media, and end up on talk radio just a few days later. Ham radio operators who have been in touch with me were trying not to laugh too much. “If you wanted to have secret, encrypted communications, why would you even bother getting a ham radio license,” said one amateur radio operator on my Facebook page. As for the idea that Ohr would be using ham radio to get around the National Security Agency, “this is 100% totally, completely, wrong,” said another ham, who noted that the NSA records the entire radio spectrum 24/7/365. “That you think ham radio has anything to do with this is hysterical,” one ham wrote to @TruthinGov2016 about the supposed Chris Steele link. “Absolutely hysterical.” But even with comments like that from people who know the limits of the hobby, it didn’t stop the conspiracy theory from spreading fast over the internet. Nellie Ohr gets a HAM radio license so she can communicate with Steele or MI6 or the Russians or whoever! Tom Clancy couldn't make this stuff up on his best day! — Tom Joad (@blakemankansas) December 12, 2017 I got my ham radio license when I was a freshman in college back in 1981, so I’ve seen a few things in the hobby. If Nellie Ohr were trying to get in touch with England or Russia via ham radio, it’s more difficult than normal, as we’re in a time period where radio signals aren’t bouncing around the globe as easily as they can – all of that is related to the low number of sunspots, and how it impacts radio signals here on Earth. But just like when I told people that there weren’t sadistic paintings on the walls at Comet Ping Pong – and they accused me of protecting a child sex ring – people are going to believe conspiracy theories, because they want to believe conspiracy theories, not because there are facts behind them. Amateur radio could always use a little good publicity. But not a conspiracy theory like this one. Pizza and ham radio go together. Pizzagate and ham radio do not. 73.