Over 6 million lose power from Irma in US Southeast - utilities

Major utilities in Florida - including NextEra Energy Inc's Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Corp and Emera Inc's Tampa Electric - have mobilized tens of thousands of workers to deal with the outages after Irma landed early Sunday and carved a destructive path up Florida, which has a population of about 20 million.

They have now been moved to Miami at the request of Florida Power and Light. The state later said 4.4 million customers were without power.

Those crews are expected to set up a base camp and tent city as part of a long-time effort to restore power. It affected all 35 counties in the utility's territory which is most of the state's Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast south of Tampa.

It threatens to knock out power to more than 4.1 million homes and businesses served by FPL, affecting around 9 million people based on the current storm track, the utility's chief executive said.

"The industry's Irma response is one of the largest power restoration efforts in USA history", Kuhn said. As ports began to reopen, queues of tanker trucks waited to be refilled.

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Both U.S. product futures ended lower - gasoline dropped 0.7 percent and heating oil fell 1.4 percent. By Monday morning, it had weakened to a tropical storm, heading towards Georgia.

In all, nearly 1.8 million FPL homes and businesses had lost power.

Most of those costs were related to Matthew, which caused a third as many outages as Irma did for FPL.

The utility says more than 120 employees are departing Tuesday for Georgia, and more than 260 employees and contract workers will go to Florida to assist in recovery.

Floridians who weathered the historic storm must now cope with an unprecedented loss of power: About 15 million people were without electricity across the state, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday. FPL reduced power at one reactor at the St. Lucie nuclear plant due to salt buildup in a switchyard from Irma.

  • Sonia Alvarado