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Florida's utilities are more prepared for Irma than Wilma. Here's why

FPL linemanThe memories of the stifled recovery from Florida’s 2004-05 spate of hurricanes still haunt: gas stations with fuel but no power to pump it, high rises with people but no working elevators and neighborhoods that scrambled to recover for weeks without electricity.

Florida’s utility companies say they have learned from the eight hurricanes more than a decade ago and if Irma makes landfall, recovery will be different.

High rises are now required to have at least one elevator operate on generator power. Gas stations and convenience stores, which fended off legislation that would have required them to buy generators, must now have access to a back-up power supply if they have fuel but no electricity.

And Florida’s utility companies, which have employed new technology and invested billions in hardening since Wilma slammed South Florida in 2005, say they are more prepared than ever for a monster storm.

“We learn from every storm and we take these lessons learned to see how we can make improvements because the key is getting the lights back on,” said Bill Orlove, FPL spokesperson. More here.