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FPL starts to reenergize Times Square businesses on Fort Myers Beach

H20 is the first store with power since Ian
H20 Times Square
Posted at 9:38 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 11:38:42-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Businesses in Times Square on Fort Myers Beach are starting to get their electricity back. Florida Power & Light installed underground power lines in the area.

It's a step towards Ian recovery, and it couldn't come at a better time as Spring Break kicks off for so many people.

"It’s nice when you have light and more people are attracted to the light," said Tammy Stockton, manager of H2O.

The souvenir store is the first one to get power back in Times Square. They had been in the dark since they reopened in December.

"We didn’t have cash registers because we didn’t have any electricity," she said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the lights came on while others are still in the dark.

FPL says 12 customers total, mostly businesses, requested reconnection. Two are up while 10 others are waiting for town approval before FPL can make the final connection.

"We identified working with the town that’s the best solution to bring more reliable service to the community," said Shawn Johnson, a communications specialist for FPL.

He says the underground lines are more reliable, and the numbers show it. According to Johnson, underground power lines in Naples, Fort Myers, and parts of Charlotte County performed seven times better during Hurricane Ian.

"Day to day they’re about 50% better, more reliable," he explained.

He said they're looking at a broader effort to put in more underground lines, though no projects are in the works, though it's an effort Times Square is seeing.

"We use a lot of reliability data, outage data, vegetation data," Johnson said. "From the economic standpoint, what it would do for that community is exciting for us."

It's already proving to be effective for Stockton.

"Usually at 4:00 we have fewer people here," she said. "Now we have a lot of people here and we have light."