(Reuters) - U.S. Southeast utilities said on Friday they restored power to over 75 percent of the 7.8 million homes and businesses knocked out by Hurricane Irma, leaving nearly 1.9 million of those customers still without electricity.
Based on the number of individuals each customer represents, that, however, still leaves about 4 million people sweltering in the Florida and Georgia heat without air conditioning.
Most of the remaining outages were in Florida Power & Light’s service area in the southern and eastern parts of the state. FPL, the state’s biggest electric company, said almost 1.1 million customers had no power, down from more than 3.6 million on Monday.
NextEra Energy Inc’s (NEE.N) FPL, which serves nearly 5 million homes and businesses, said it expects to restore power to essentially all customers in the eastern portion of Florida by the end of the weekend and the harder-hit western part of the state by Sept. 22.
Outages at Duke Energy Corp (DUK.N), which serves the northern and central parts of Florida, fell to about 375,000 from a peak of around 1.2 million on Monday. Duke said it expects to restore service to most of its customers by midnight Sept. 17.
In coming days, temperatures are forecast to reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) in Miami, the high 80s F (low 30s C) in Jacksonville and the mid-80s F (around 30 C) F in Atlanta, according to meteorologists at AccuWeather.
Irma hit southwestern Florida Sunday morning as a Category 4 hurricane, the second most severe on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. On Monday, when most customers were without power, the storm weakened to a tropical depression.
In Georgia, utilities reported outages declined to about 113,000 from a peak of around 1.3 million on Monday.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by W Simon