BONITA SPRINGS — Starting this month, people who can’t pay their power bill will start getting the lights turned off.
It’s already happening in Lee County, where one man we spoke with said, he applied for help paying his bills, but it didn’t come fast enough.
We met up with Michael Weaver at his house in Bonita Springs Thursday afternoon. He said the downturn in the economy hit him especially hard.
“I was unfortunately one of the ones that fell through the cracks and ended up losing my business," said Weaver.
He applied for the Lee CARES program, and was approved in September. Then on Wednesday, he got an email saying he might not see the money until the end of October.
“I can’t wait three weeks until October 30th. I mean, I’ve got small children in the house," said Weaver.
Lee County confirmed that it can take a while for the money to arrive in a statement, saying "Lee County does not provide estimated payment timelines to applicants. The process involves many players, including vendors like FPL that we do not control."
“I called around and was just fortunate, after many many phone calls, I found one person that was able and willing to help me," said Weaver.
That person lent Weaver the money to cover his bill, and just before we left on Thursday, the electricity came back. But Weaver said he’s worried about people who don’t have someone to call.
“There’s a lot of other families and people out there that are in the same boat that just, they’re not getting, they may not get that lucky person to help them," said Weaver.
I also spoke with a representative from Florida Power and Light. The company said it only turns off power as a last resort, and it even has its own program for working with customers having trouble paying.
If you need help with utilities, below are links to Lee CARES and programs offered by Florida Power and Light.
Lee CARES: https://www.leeflcares.com/
Florida Power and Light: https://www.fpl.com/help/payment-assistance.html