Power slow to return to some areas in Collier County

Posted at 7:03 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 19:33:33-04

As electric companies work to restore power to their customers throughout Southwest Florida, some of those customers are wondering why their power is still out - while others near them are back on. With temperatures in the 90s every day, the lack of air conditioning can take its toll.

"People are getting sick, people are getting frustrated," said John Ruggiero, a Naples Park resident. The power on his street, 109th Avenue North, has been out ever since Hurricane Irma hit Collier County last Sunday, while businesses along nearby U.S. 41 are up and running.

"Upscale clothing stores, they have power," Ruggiero said. "On this block and down further, no power."

He's most concerned about his older neighbors who can't turn on their A/C to get away from the heat. His neighbor Richard O'Neil went to the emergency room after overexerting himself cleaning up debris after the storm.

"I have a generator for making coffee and essentials, but not enough to run the A/C which is a big deal," O'Neil said.

But O'Neil believes the power companies are doing all they can.

"I give them credit for what they do," he said. "I think they're getting it back on as soon as possible."

Bill Orlove, a spokesman with Florida Power & Light, said there are several reasons that customers might see customers near them with power, while they're still sweating it out in the dark.

"One may be the power source that goes directly to their home," Orlove said. "Also, we've seen that the storm has caused damage to customer equipment."

Ruggiero said an FPL customer representative told him on the phone that Collier County was the one of the hardest hit by Irma, but he had yet to see an FPL truck in his neighborhood on Monday.

"If we're the hardest hit, we should get the help first," he said.

Orlove said that the widespread damage by Irma on Florida's power supply was unprecedented, and that 2,300 men and women are working to get the power restored.