Clearwater tenant caught in middle of power struggle

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A power struggle is brewing in Clearwater over the lack of electricity.

A tenant can’t live in her apartment after somebody damaged her electrical box.

“Everything is gone. I had to throw it all out. There’s nothing” said Latearia Cox as she opened her refrigerator in her kitchen.

The showed her dark, powerless apartment at Imperial Courts Apartments off South Belcher Road.

“I come and take cold showers,” she said.

Latearia can’t cook, use the stove, microwave, floor fans or air conditioning.

“I have to sleep with my windows up like they are. It’s depressing. It’s hot in here. It’s depressing, it’s so depressing. All I want is my power,” she said.

Behind her building, Latearia showed 8 On Your Side where someone removed her meter, and later, everything inside, making a quick repair, impossible.

The apartment manager insists, crews he sometimes hires did not break the meter. “Duke broke the sockets,” said George Cottom.

8 On Your Side wanted to know why the power has been off for more than a week.

George Cottom said Duke’s crews were changing out meters. “They told me the prongs when they pulled it out, were broken. And we’re gonna fix that” said Cottom.

A Duke representative said the company had nothing to do with breaking the meter or prongs.

The duke spokesperson told 8 On Your Side, a technician noticed damage while investigating an outage, deemed it an electrical hazard.

The spokesperson said, the meter base is customer-owned equipment, and power cannot be restored until repairs are made, and the company will make it a priority to restore power when that happens.

Latearia Cox is caught in the middle and keeps asking her manager for help.

“When are you gonna go get this part or whatever for my power to be cut back on? It’s your responsibility to fix that,” she asked.

The building Manager insists parts are on order and repairs will happen as fast as possible.

Not fast enough for Latearia. “I’ve been hearing the same thing since Wednesday. All I want to know is, when is my power gonna be on?” she asked.

Despite saying Latearia Cox is an excellent tenant, management is planning to evict her.

Latearia shared several text messages she received, ordering her out after the first of the year.

The Duke Energy spokesperson said, as a courtesy, they are going to pay for her spoiled food.

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