Duke Energy customers frustrated over power restoration timeline

AP Photo/David Goldman

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – People all over the Tampa Bay area want to know when their power will be back on following Hurricane Irma.

Many Duke Energy customers are especially frustrated after waking up in the dark Saturday, even though the company’s website showed they would have power back overnight.

8 On Your Side took those concerns directly to Duke Energy on Saturday morning.

“Unfortunately, [it’s] because of some extensive localized damage and inclement weather that came through the area,” Duke Energy Spokeswoman Peveeta Persaud said. “However, we do understand the inconvenience being without power is.”

We asked if the deadline on the website was just to appease people or give them hope. Duke says no.

“We absolutely thought we would be able to make that estimated restoration timeline of midnight last night. But because of some extensive localized damage that we realized when our crews were in the field beginning to restore power, and come inclement weather that moved through the area, we then realized that unfortunately for the four percent of Pinellas and Pasco Counties, we would not be able to meet that timeline,” Persaud said.

Line crews in the field, many of whom traveled across the country to help, say they are working as fast as possible.

“We wanted to get peoples’ lights on as much as they want them on,” said Warren Arterburn from Illinois. “We are dedicated. We sacrifice a lot, we are away from our families and our kids.”

Duke Energy expects to have the power back on for all customers in Pinellas and Pasco Counties by the end of the day Saturday.

On Saturday night, the company said customers can call their new automated outage reporting system at 800-228-8485.

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