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Power outages spur questions about burying power lines in South Florida

After Hurricane Irma, customers want FPL to take preventive action

MIAMI BEACH – Eight days after Hurricane Irma, Florida Power & Light hasn't restored electrical power to all of their customers.

The state's biggest electric company is responsible for about 3.6 million customers in both residential and commercial property. Some 204,000 were still without air conditioning in temperatures reaching the low 90s.

Power had not been restored for 11,240 in Miami-Dade and 1,990 in Broward. FPL spokeswoman Florencia Contesse said the outages were related to areas with fallen trees, fallen poles and rewiring that still needs to happen. 

Jessica Fernandez is among the thousands of residents who want FPL to bury power lines to protect them from the wind and to avoid vegetation-related outages. 

"It looks nicer," Fernandez said.


Ted Kury is the director of energy studies at University of Florida's public utility research center. He said the overhead-to-underground conversion is probably not the answer. 


Kury said burying the power lines would need to be done in a way that would prevent storm surge and flooding to damage them. It would also be expensive. 


"When FPL spends money on something, it's recovered by the customers," Kury said. 



Local 10 News' Andrea Torres contributed to this report. 

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."