Duke Energy hard at work restoring power to Floridians after Hurricane Irma

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A mighty tree is likely the culprit for power outages in several St. Petersburg neighborhoods.

When it toppled over during Hurricane Irma, it took power lines with it.

“When you lose it, that’s when you appreciate it,” said resident Eddie Robinson.

Robinson is one of 400,000 Duke Energy customers in the dark.

According to officials, 2,500 Duke crews are spread around the state, in the midst of repairing lines and equipment. More than 9,000 out-of-state crews are in Florida helping them.

News Channel 8 reporter Meredyth Censullo recorded video of a utility truck convoy headed south on I-75.

Crews are facing many obstacles as they attempt to get things up and running.

“The causes and what the structures look like are in all different shapes and sizes,” said Duke Energy spokeswoman Ana Gibbs.

Issues range from a minor fuse problem to severe damage.

Duke is focusing on high priority places like hospitals, 911 centers and police stations first, then heading into neighborhoods.

“It’s like, a misconception for you to have to see damage next to your home for there to be a power outage,” Gibbs said.

Company officials are telling customers they could be without power for a week.

At last check, more than 5.5-million people in Florida remained in the dark.

On Tuesday afternoon, Duke Energy put out a list of updated county-by-county estimated restoration times:

Western portion of service areas, including Pasco and Pinellas Counties, should be restored by midnight on Friday.

Central and northern areas, including CitrusHernando and Polk Counties, should be restored by midnight on Sunday.

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