Over 6.6 million without power in US Southeast after Irma - utilities

FPL, the state's largest utility, said its outages dropped to around 1.9 million customers on Wednesday from a peak of more than 3.6 million on Monday. 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.

"An army of more than 50,000 workers from across the United States and Canada is now dedicated to supporting the industry's Irma restoration efforts", Kuhn said.

Still, he said, it will take days for many people to be restored and, in some cases where the damage was extensive, weeks.

In the Tampa Bay area, almost 550,000 Duke Energy customers and more than 280,000 TECO customers remain without power.

The total number of customers, representing about 12 million people, dipped from a peak of more than 7.4 million customers, or about 15 million people, late on Monday.

Irma hit southwestern Florida on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm, the second most severe on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

The utilities had thousands of workers - some from as far away as California - ready to help restore power once Irma's high winds pass their service areas.

Florida outages for Duke, the state's second biggest power company serving the northern and central parts of the state, remained at about 1.2 million overnight, according to the company's website, while Duke's outages in North and SC climbed to about 160,000. It had weakened to a tropical depression on Monday.

In Georgia, utilities reported over 1.1 million customers without power Tuesday, down from a peak of around 1.3 million on Monday night.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Friday it has dispatched additional inspectors to the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants in Florida in preparation for the effects of Hurricane Irma on those sites.

  • Jon Douglas