Power restoration to Sanibel and Captiva is ahead of early assessments, which indicated it could take months to rebuild the electric infrastructure. LCEC energized the transmission line Friday, Oct. 14, on Sanibel and estimates power to essential services — The Sanibel School, RO plant and fire stations — and Captiva will be restored as early as Oct. 20, three weeks after Hurricane Ian, thanks to many forces working together.
Once the critical infrastructure is rebuilt, LCEC and FPL plan to work section by section to energize the island over the next two weeks. Each section that is rebuilt or repaired makes it possible to connect additional residential and commercial customers, the majority estimated to be restored by the end of October.
Estimated restoration times for Sanibel and Captiva – some essential services restored by Oct. 20
What has helped expedite restoration to a devastated barrier island:
• Assistance from Governor Ron DeSantis and other governmental agencies have been instrumental in overcoming challenges related to access, line worker support, and other resources.
• 500 FPL line workers were mobilized to the island last week as part of the extended partnership with FPL, the LCEC power supplier. Support also included a generous supply of utility poles and materials, six substation electricians, and many other logistics personnel working shoulder to shoulder with LCEC employees.
• LCEC critical infrastructure remained strong during and after the storm. After proper assessment, cleaning, analysis, and testing, the transmission line and substation were energized allowing for repairs to the backbone of the system. This will enable homes and businesses to begin receiving power.
A generous supply of power poles and hundreds of line workers arrived on Sanibel last week to help restore power to the island after Hurricane Ian. SC photos by Dorothy Wallace
Challenges of restoring power to a barrier island:
• The islands have been cut off to vehicular traffic, after sections of the Sanibel Causeway were washed away, making it difficult to mobilize trucks, materials, supplies, lodging, and utility workers. A one-day temporary bridge allowed a large number of vehicles to move over and additional trips must be made by barge and ferry.
• Much of Sanibel was destroyed, including critical electric infrastructure. Some facilities survived the storm making restoration to those areas quicker.
• Traffic on the island during a normal day can be slow. After a hurricane, it is even more problematic.
• Vegetation and debris covers nearly every surface, including where crews need to be to complete work.
• Water, sand, and salt intrusion make it tough to rebuild facilities, especially in areas where utilities are underground.
LCEC serves nearly 11,000 customers on Sanibel and Captiva islands. The goal is to restore power as quickly and safely as possible to those able to receive power and ensure the infrastructure is available for those who will rebuild their homes or businesses destroyed by Hurricane Ian.