TECO cuts check to family left in dark for months after Target 8 reports

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for a Tampa family left without power for four months.

Jessie Scott and her family were left hotel bound and strapped for cash for months after a power surge fried the wiring in their house.

“We’re not going to be able to go back to the house, I can’t afford to fix it. There’s no way, there’s too much damage,” Scott told News Channel 8.

But it seems her ordeal is nearing to an end. TECO finally showed up at her door and cut her a check to help pay for the damage, just 10 days after Target 8 began asking questions.

“Between that and I’m going to sell the house and hopefully between the two of them there’s going to be enough to get me into another house,” Ms. Scott said about her plans to spend this money.

The power surge had sparked a chain of events for Jessie and her family. They were forced into a motel, which quickly wiped out their savings.

With little money left, they had to surrender their dogs to the county. And to rub salt in the wounds, looters and vandals trashed their home.

In March, TECO paid to replace the wiring, but the process ran out of juice.

“According to our tariff, which is essentially state guidelines, we have no obligation to pay for damage in situations like that,” TECO spokesperson Cherie Jacobs explained.

That’s when Jessie decided to contact Target 8.  And ten days ago, I reached out to TECO.

Two days after I contacted the company, claims adjusters and inspectors showed up at her door.

“As soon as it hit the news they hurried it up and tried to settle it, get it taken care of,” said Jessie.

Their response raises an interesting question:  Why did TECO cut Ms. Scott a check when it didn’t have to?

“We’re being a good corporate citizen,” said Cherie Jacobs. “We, out of goodwill, we do occasionally pay these claims.”

The settlement is confidential, but TECO stepped up and so did some of our viewers, who e-mailed us, asking how they could help.

“One lady actually called me back, she is very, very nice. Turns out she’s getting ready to move and she has like a kitchen table, chairs, sheets, pillows, stuff like that. Dishes, stuff like that, that’s really going to help us out, so I really appreciate it,” added Ms. Scott.

But her odyssey is not over just yet.

Scott tells us she expects her family will be stuck in the motel for a few more weeks until the home sells, and they can use that and the money TECO provided to find another house to buy.

She also pointed out there is still no way she can reclaim her dogs in her current situation. She is hoping for the best, which would mean adoption, but they are both older.

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

Follow Steve Andrews on Facebook

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