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Sparks fly as Coral Gables-FPL power struggle lights up

FPL called Coral Gables' actions "frivolous lawsuits and ludicrous code violations"
September 19, 2017 05:00PM

Coral Way in Coral Gables following Hurricane Irma (Credit: Getty Images)

The blame game between the city of Coral Gables and Florida Power & Light is heating up.

After Hurricane Irma hit South Florida and knocked out power to millions of customers, one municipality has been especially vocal. Coral Gables, which threatened to sue FPL for failing to turn the lights back on for all of its residents by the previously promised deadline of Sunday night, issued the power company a citation.

FPL fired back, saying in a statement that it will not bow to pressure created by “frivolous lawsuits and ludicrous code violations” to provide “preferential treatment” to the city of Coral Gables, according to Local 10.

In South Florida, 4.4 million customers were impacted by the storm.

“The fact is the city of Coral Gables has for many years resisted FPL’s well-documented efforts to trim trees and harden our electric system. Unfortunately for our customers in that area, they are now paying the price in terms of extended outages due to hundreds of trees that have fallen into our lines,” the statement reads.

The city’s “extreme approach to trees is the cause of the problem,” FPL said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, power crews were going street by street in Pinecrest, South Miami and the Gables to restore the final 2 percent of residents without electricity, according to an NBC Miami reporter.

A class-action lawsuit was filed on Monday against FPL, on behalf of two individuals and Florida residents who are or were without power due to Hurricane Irma. But FPL said the suit was filed by a law firm tied to Coral Gables Commissioner Frank Quesada.

The village of Pinecrest also threatened FPL with litigation, according to the Miami Herald. [Local 10] – Katherine Kallergis