Family left without power for 4 months may finally get help from TECO after Target 8 investigation

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A crew of inspectors and claims adjusters with Tampa Electric Company (TECO) showed up to Jessie Scott’s residence on Friday. There they took notes, took photographs, and then a hard look at what is left of the home.

A Target 8 report that aired on Wednesday, detailed how Jessie and her family have been hotel bound and strapped for cash for fourth months.

A power surge destroyed the wiring in her house, and she has been waiting for TECO, which had accepted responsibility for the spike, to fix the issue so that her family can finally move back home. Two days after that report aired, TECO crews came knocking on Jessie’s door.

“They are inspecting the wiring and verifying which appliances work, which doesn’t work, what’s left in the house, what’s been stolen,” said Jessie.

Without power, Ms. Scott and her family were forced to move to a hotel, which has cost her an excess of $5,000.

“Hopefully they do resolve it soon because as of Friday the hotel will no longer be paid for because we are out of money. It’s paid until then, we paid the last of our savings on it,” she added.

The power company is evaluating the hotel bill as part of Jessie Scott’s claim, according to spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs.  

But for Jessie, one question remains—will she be out on the street by the end of next week?

“We are looking at her claim and we will be evaluating that in a few days,” replied Ms. Jacobs.

TECO said they received claim forms from Ms. Scott just last week, but the utility has known about the issues at the N. Florence Ave. residence for months.

The company has already paid to replace the wiring in the house, which meant they had to rip apart Scott’s walls. E-mail correspondence from early April shows Scott sent over estimates for drywall repair.

In the meantime, the family must worry about looters and vandals, who have already robbed and ransacked the empty house. And if that’s not terrible enough, the family had to surrender their dogs to the county, since they can no longer afford to take care of them.

“Definitely one of the hardest things I’ve been through,” Ms. Scott tearfully stated when talking about the dogs.

“We understand Ms. Scott’s predicament and we are working very hard to make sure that this is handled quickly and expeditiously,” explained Cherie Jacobs.

After our report on Wednesday, TECO’s inspector informed Ms. Scott the earliest he could check out the house would be May 30, pushing Jessie up against Friday’s hotel deadline.

“I had actually texted you and talked to you about it, to see if you had any ideas,” she said.

I sent her text to TECO.

“And then I got a call from TECO saying that they had changed it to 10 am today,” said Jessie.

The adjusters gave her hope that she might be hearing some numbers from the power company by Tuesday.

This represents progress. And for Jessie Scott and her family, it couldn’t come fast enough.

‘”The sooner this situation gets resolved the sooner my kids are going to be back living a comfortable life, I just want my kids to go back to being their normal happy-go-lucky selves,” said Jessie.

If you have something that you think should be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808 or reach out to Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

Follow Steve Andrews on Facebook

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