CAPE CORAL, Fla. — It’s been 12 days since Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwest Florida and thousands of people are still in the dark.
Monday morning, Lee County Electric Co-op announced more than 19,000 customers in Cape Coral and North Fort Myers still haven’t had their power restored.
LCEC says crews made good progress Sunday working to restore power to the remaining customers out of power. A harsh lightning storm last evening knocked out power to pockets of customers who had previously been restored and crews will return to restore power at those locations today.
LCEC had set a goal of getting 95% of its Lee County customers back online by Saturday.
“The optimistic estimate was off the mark by a few percentage and the restoration team will continue to work until every home and business that is able to receive power is brought back online,” LCEC said in a press release Sunday morning.
Along Santa Barbara Blvd in Cape Coral, a sign in the media pleads for help.
“LCEC please here,” the sign says.
Not far from the sign, Theresa Frosoni is only beginning her road to recovery.
“Power would help,” said Frosoni.
“I was in Fort Lauderdale because I was told to evacuate. We got back yesterday and my house is a mess. Just a mess.”
A charity group from North Carolina is helping Frosoni with some of her flood damage.
She’s hoping to salvage some furniture, but without electricity, it’s difficult to do a complete assessment.
An army of resources has come to Lee County to help.
At the neighborhood off Santa Barbara, Orland Rustan found a longtime friend among the lineman.
“We’re all originally from Iowa, and all these guys up and down here are from Iowa to help turn the power back on,” said Rustan, who now lives in Northwest Cape Coral.
“We always knew they were linemen but we’ve never really seen what they do. To see their work to see what they do, it’s pretty awesome. They’re our saviors.”
LCEC says they have essentially restored power to all of their customers outside of Cape Coral and North Fort Myers, excluding Sanibel and Pine Island.
The work of a lineman means never slowing down.
As soon as this crew finishes, they’re off to a new location.
“From here he’s going to Puerto Rico,” Rustan said of his former neighbor.
“There’s trouble everywhere.”