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FPL: We've Made Improvements Over The Years, Restoring Power Should Take Less Time

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Florida Power & Light employees are very busy these days.

"We got a tour of the distribution center, showing thousands of transformers, generators, and equipment — ready to move out. We have a restoration workforce right now of about 5,000," said FPL's Bill Orlove.

"We're reaching out to other utilities for assistance. But right now we're just getting our plans in place, getting our crews in place and then determine where is the best location for those crews to be before the storm hits so we can get the lights back on for our customers," he said.

The tour continued in the command center, it's here where everything is coordinated — like getting crews where they need to go.

"We're already starting to open up what we call our processing sites in North Florida where we actually bring the crews in to process them into our system and we'll start identifying those other sites," said Barry Wilkinson.

What makes planning for this storm more difficult is that the cone is still so large.

In the meantime, FPL says they've learned a lot and made improvements over the years — they stress restoring power should take less time.

"We saw that the enhancements that we've made to the grid make the restoration process move faster," Orlove said.

"If you look back to Wilma in 2005, it took us 18 days to get the lights back on for all of our customers. Two years ago it took us 10 full days to get the lights back one. Actually, within 2 days we have more than half of our customer's lights back on," he said.

Meanwhile, Window protection is going up on city buildings around Lake Worth Beach.

Crews are concentrating on the public library and city hall. Already, the historical society building is set. Preparation and planning are key right now.

All over town, crews are taking down or securing anything that could be a problem with high winds.

At Benny's on the Beach restaurant at Lake Worth Beach Pier — it's relatively quiet right now, many customers who would normally come have a lot to do today. "It's definitely a lot slower than usual," said server Eric Smith. "This is usually the hot spot of the whole town."

Others are making plans to head out of town.

Tommy Ligorie and his daughter Brianna are heading home to New York driving.

"Unfortunately I called this morning to see if we could get flights out and it was all booked up," he said. "And the flights I did find were unfortunately way high and we couldn't afford it so we have to take the route and driving back."

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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