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Power & Gas Factbox: As Irma weakens, outages spread regionally

Houston (Platts)--12 Sep 2017 227 pm EDT/1827 GMT


Hurricane Irma and its aftermath has left more than 6.3 million power customers without service from Florida to North Carolina as of Tuesday morning, and more than 50,000 workers are assessing and repairing damage as the storm weakens.


OUTAGE STATUS


Florida remains the hardest-hit region, with about 5 million customers without power across the state between 10 am and 11 am EDT. But that is down from about 5.9 million as of 3 pm EDT Monday, according to data from utilities and PowerOutage.us.

Next were Georgia, with about 1.1 million, the Carolinas with about 251,000 and Alabama with about 18,000.

The utilities with the 10 largest number of outages were as follows:

* Florida Power & Light: 2,834,180
* Duke Energy Florida: 1,188,520
* Georgia Power: 787,398
* Tampa Electric: 275,108
* Jacksonville Electric Authority (Fla.): 165,189
* Duke Energy Carolinas (N.C. and S.C.): 154,978
* Clay Electric Coop (Fla.)
* Withlacoochee River Electric Coop (Fla.): 108,826
* SECO Energy (Fla.): 98,256
* Orlando Utilities Commission: 92,054

The Florida Keys Electric Cooperative's outage tracker map has been out of service since Irma made landfall Sunday. But on that day the co-op estimated about 27,000 customers were without power.


POWER DEMAND


* Peakload across the Florida, Southern Company, and Carolinas' balancing authorities topped 60.0 GW on Monday during the hour ending at 10 pm EDT compared with a forecast peakload of 73.5 GW for the hour ending at 7 pm EDT, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Monday's peak was down 34.3 GW from Friday and 50.4 GW below week-prior levels. The bulk of the lost load was focused in Florida, where peakload fell about 25 GW from last Friday as well as week-prior levels.

Tuesday's peakload for the Southeast region is forecast to hit 71.7 GW, according to the EIA. But EIA forecasts have averaged 3.7 GW higher than actual demand through the hour ending at 11 am EDT.


GAS DEMAND


* Hurricane Irma continued to depress gas demand as Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy revised its estimated power burn demand for the Southeast downward by about 0.8 Bcf to hit a second consecutive year-to-date low of 4.9 Bcf. Sunday's burn estimate was 5.4 Bcf, approximately 0.1 Bcf lower than the previous low set January 2.

Low demand was driven by widespread outages cutting power demand throughout the region, even as repair crews began ramping up restoration efforts.


INTERSTATE PIPELINES


* Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America on Tuesday updated a force majeure notice issue for the Louisiana Line first issued August 26, one day after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast. The pipeline company said the force majeure would remain in effect until further notice in "order to insure safe system operations and the safety of Natural's personnel."

Compressor station 342, in Cameron Parish, Louisiana (Segment 23 of Natural's Louisiana Zone) continues to be unavailable until the force majeure event has been lifted. Compressor Station 342 remains in free flow mode.


RESTORATION EFFORTS


* "This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in US history," said Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn in a media release late Monday. "An army of more than 50,000 workers from across the United States and Canada is now dedicated to supporting the industry's Irma restoration efforts. This includes workers from affected companies, as well as mutual assistance crews, contractors, and other support personnel."

* Florida Keys Electric Co-op on Monday issued a media release stating that it has begun assessing its grid by land and air.

"We are also coordinating the return of our employees and outside assistance, all of which have been strategically planned," FKEC said, but added that it can only begin work once medical care facilities for crews are available.


FEDERAL UTILITY ASSISTANCE


* Citing the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma and its aftermath, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced awards of up to $50 million to the US Department of Energy's National Laboratories to support research and development of "next-generation tools and technologies to further improve the resilience of the nation's critical infrastructure."

"As round-the-clock efforts continue to help communities recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the need to continue strengthening and improving our electricity delivery system to withstand and recover from disruptions has become even more compelling," Perry said in a media release.

The projects include those aimed at resilient distribution systems and cyber security, the DOE said.

--George McGuirk, gmcguirk@spglobal.com
--Jim Magill, jim.magill@spglobal.com
--Mark Watson, markham.watson@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com

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