Estimated Restoration Times for Sanibel Island – some essential services restored by October 20

October 15, 2022 – Early assessments of Sanibel and Captiva Islands indicated it could take months to rebuild the electric infrastructure. Thanks to many forces working together, the backbone of the system will be rebuilt making it possible to restore power to essential services such as the school, RO Plant, and a Fire Stations which are estimated to be back in power as early as next week, October 20. Once the critical infrastructure is rebuilt, team LCEC and FPL plan to work section by section to energize the island over the next two weeks. By October 23, City Hall and public safety facilities are estimated to be in service. Each section that is rebuilt or repaired makes it possible to connect additional residential and commercial customers, the majority estimated to be restored within 13 days. The harder hit sections of the Island, like North Captiva, will take time to rebuild. Attached is a complete restoration timeline for reference.

What has helped expedite restoration to a devastated barrier island:

  1. Assistance from Governor Ron DeSantis and other governmental agencies have been instrumental in overcoming challenges related to access, line worker support, and other resources.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Challenges of restoring power to a barrier island:

  1. The island has been cut off to vehicular traffic 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.
  2. Much of the island was destroyed, including critical electric infrastructure. Some facilities survived the storm making restoration to those areas quicker.
  3. Traffic on the island during a normal day can be slow. After a hurricane, it is even more problematic.
  4. Vegetation and debris covers nearly every surface, including where crews need to be to complete work.
  5. Water, sand, and salt intrusion make it tough to rebuild facilities, especially in areas where utilities are underground.