Non-profit versus for-profit in the power restoration Olympics

“Governor DeSantis Calls on Lee County Electric Cooperative to Accept Additional Mutual Aid to Expedite Power Restoration” (Saturday):

At this time, Florida Power and Light (FPL) has restored power to more than 45% of their accounts in Lee County, while LCEC has only restored power to 9% of their accounts (18,000 out of 183,000 customers).

Florida Power and Light is the Evil Empire of Electricity in Florida, a for-profit regulated monopoly.

What about LCEC?

LCEC is one of more than 850 not-for-profit electric distribution cooperatives located throughout 46 states and serving 75 percent of land mass in the nation. Cooperatives are in business to serve members at the cost of service. This business model is different from investor-owned utilities, which typically share profits with investors globally.

It seems as though the profit-seekers invested substantially more in resiliency than the non-profit folks.

Sunday morning: LCEC had 177,105 out of 199,097 customers tracked (11 percent on; note the inconsistency in total Lee County customers with the 183,000 figure above).

FPL had 132,930 out from among 288,630 in Lee County (54 percent on).

On Monday morning, the outage site still showed roughly the same number out: 177,369 out of 199,097 in Lee County. Either LCEC made no progress at all in 24 hours or we are seeing #FakeNews on the site (someone’s computer system is broken?). Over the same roughly 24-hour period, FPL had reduced its Lee County outages from 132,930 to 100,220. I checked Twitter and found the following update from LCEC:

The power outage site shows 184,751 LCEC customers out across all locations.


4 thoughts on “Non-profit versus for-profit in the power restoration Olympics

  1. What are the respective service areas? Some of those listed for the coop are most heavily damaged (Port Charlotte, Sanibel, Sand Island) . Many customers there cannot be safely restored.

    • I think LCEC does have some of the barrier islands, for which restoration has been almost impossible, but those aren’t a huge number of customers. Governor DeSantis today announced that he is sending in linemen via helicopter to try to get the islands back online. According to DeSantis, there are quite a few people who stayed on the barrier islands through the hurricane and want to continue to stay there, which means the power must be restored quickly.

  2. FP&L bought our Southern Co. subsidiary just before Michael and actually closed after the storm restoration. Re-erecting the poles and distribution plant was pretty fast – they had 7,000 linemen for a population of about 220,000.
    FP&L had a charm offensive in late 2019 about how rates would “ultimately” go down, took over the accounts early in 2020 and my bill went up 20% the first month. They obviously knew about the rates before the takeover.
    FP&L is like your buddy who can go in a room, say “good morning!” and piss off everybody there.

    Off topic, spent a week in Maskachusetts and New Hampshire (Boston and Suburbs). Saw no yard signs or obvious culture wars, maybe they are in stealth mode.
    Sailboats pretty as ever on the windy Charles, young hipsters biking and jogging on the greens, no sign of impending doom.

  3. As of right now according to U.S. Power Outage, there are 186,430 customers still out:

    That’s just a little bit more, by the way, than the speed of light in miles per second (186,282 Mi/Sec is the approximate accepted value according to and about 7.4% of the total a week ago. DeSoto, Charlotte and Lee counties are still ~30% and rapidly falling.

    So one week in, there are still a significant number of people who are without power, but they seem to be working the problem hard on the tough stuff.

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