Power companies work to restore widspread power outages

- Hurricane Irma knocked out power for 6.5 million Floridians, many of whom are still in the dark. FPL called it the most widespread damage in the company's history.

For some, it could be days until the lights are back on. For others in the hardest it areas, it could be weeks.

Between the power companies that serve the Tampa Bay area, we measured more than a million outages. One of the hardest hit counties was Pinellas. Duke Energy counted more than 415,000 outages there.

These outages were expected. Companies prepared ahead of the storm, having crews from all over the country, even Canada, on standby to swoop in as soon as it was safe.

TECO has about a thousand people out in the field, on the ground, and in the air, assessing damage and restoring power. Duke is bringing in 9,000 extra resources.

Around the streets of Tampa, we found people revving up generators, lighting candles or simply sitting outside, playing cards, and doing whatever they could to pass the time.

"It's a luxury right? It's a luxury. Big luxury," Jennifer Blaskvitch said. "I know we pay for it but when it goes out, you expect it to be back quick. But, I understand the circumstances. It could have been a lot worse. So, you just have to be patient."

The million-dollar question is, when will everyone's power come back on? Before the storm, power companies asked customers to prepare for about a week without power. From what we're hearing, it probably won't be weeks, but maybe days, since the damage wasn't as significant in our area.

Our crews did notice several traffic signals that were not functioning after the storm, due to power outages. If you're driving, especially, at night, it's crucial that you pay attention for those, so you don't wind up in an accident. If they're dark, treat it as a four-way stop. If they're flashing yellow, proceed with caution. If they're flashing red, treat it as a stop sign.

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