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Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough power outages nearly all restored a week after Irma

More than a week after Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions of Floridians, about 300,000 customers across the state were still in the dark Monday evening.

But most in the Tampa Bay area could flick their lights on.

Duke Energy reported that more than 99 percent of outages were restored in a dozen counties across the state, including in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough. The utility said about 2,549 customers in Pinellas and 280 customers in Pasco — where Duke is the largest provider of electricity — remained without power Monday, though some outages were unrelated to Irma.

Tampa Electric, which provides power to the vast majority of Hillsborough County, only showed 165 customers without power on its outage map Monday. It was unclear how many of those were caused by Irma.

Statewide, about 3 percent of the state's 10.5 million accounts, 311,639 power customers, remained without power Monday evening, according to state data.

Since Irma, Duke Energy has restored power for nearly 1.6 million Florida customers, but had roughly 155,800 outages remaining across the state, the company said in a news release Sunday evening.

The restoration work was slowed, the company said, when its automated outage management system went down after the storm. That required workers to manually track outages and estimate restoration times.

Duke Energy missed its self-imposed midnight Friday deadline to have power restored to all its customers in Pinellas County. The utility then blew its revised deadline of Saturday at midnight. By Monday, when nearly 3,000 Tampa Bay-area account holders still did not have power, Duke was not providing an estimate of when it might reach full restoration.

According to the utility's Sunday news release, its automated outage management system was brought back online Sunday. That should allow the company to work faster and provide its customers with more detailed information.

"We deeply apologize for not meeting our customers' expectations," said Harry Sideris, president of Duke Energy in Florida, in the statement. "They expect and deserve better from us. Our customers are angry and frustrated that we could not provide them better information. I want to reassure them that we have not stopped and will not stop until our customers are restored."

Other areas in the state have it much worse. About 37 percent of all customers in Highlands County were still without power Monday night. Meanwhile, 29 percent remained powerless in Monroe County, which encompasses the Keys, where Hurricane Irma was the most destructive.

Duke Energy said it anticipates having service restored to Highlands and Hardee counties, which also saw heavy damage, by this evening.

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin. Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or jsolomon@tampabay.com. Follow @josh_solomon15.

Still no power?

If you are still without power, contact Duke Energy by:

• Texting OUT to 57801

• Calling Duke Energy's automated outage reporting system: 1-800-228-8485

• For more information, visit: news.duke-energy.com/irma.

Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough power outages nearly all restored a week after Irma 09/18/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 12:42am]
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