MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — A few residents are being left in the dark tonight.
Street lights on San Marco Road, owned and maintained by LCEC, have been out since Hurricane Ian. The electric company, tonight, saying it’s because of storm surge from Ian that has caused the issues.
LCEC tells us the surge damaged connectors, wiring, and circuitry which LCEC has not been able to replace because of supply chain issues and other high-priority commitments. Those underground systems don’t stand up well to the type of saltwater surge seen with Ian. Repair and replacement of underground systems take special equipment and are much more difficult than overhead repairs.
There are more than 120 homes on the island that are being served temporary power. LCEC says restoring permanent power to these homes takes higher priority than restoring the streetlights.
“I ride in the morning and it’s very dark to ride. But that’s why we have lights on our bikes.”
Something Mary Courtemanche, riding her bike with her husband Roland, can agree on.
"Oh yeah," she says. "Wouldn’t you think? Yeah because we were out for like 20 days without electricity. But what could they do? All of it was underground with the water from the surge. It was bad.”
LCEC is also restoring power on Sanibel, Pine Island, and Cape Coral which has taken up some of their resources.
In the meantime, the Marco Island Police Department is asking those who use the sidewalks to use caution while doing so at night. State law requires those bikes being used between sunset and sunrise to have a front lamp and reflector on the back.
LCEC has said restoration of the streetlights will take months. Meanwhile, city staff will be meeting with LCEC to talk about temporary lighting options for the street.