State lawmaker wants Duke Energy held accountable for power restoration delays

In Central Florida, Duke Energy says around 37,000 of their customers are still without power a full week after Hurricane Irma struck the region.  

Many were restored Monday night.  Some call it a sign of salvation, after days of false hope.  Tina Rivera was among those relieved to see crews working near Timberlake Apartments in Altamonte Springs.

"It's making a difference. Let's hope they can turn these lights on," she said.

She described the eight days that she said she has been without power as something similar to an unplanned camping trip. 

"Sweaty, hot. I have a sister that's pregnant and my nieces that have to go to school. They can't go to school, because they're taking cold showers."

A Duke Energy spokesman blames technical glitches which affected the estimated time of power being restored.

"As we were in the field, our crews were finding that some outages involved more damage than anticipated," said Jeff Brooks.  "We had to make some adjustments on timing."

They plan to improve communication with residents in the future.

"There's some things we can do better from this, and we're going to learn from this. We apologize for the frustration."

"It doesn't help, because apparently, they gave hope to everybody. People came back from hotels, waiting for electricity to go on, and we stood another night without electricity," Rivera explained.

Anna Perez said it hasn't been easy for her either. 

"It's very stressful. I'm diabetic. My sugar's been spiking up and down. My husband has a pacemaker. We've been very stressed. I call Duke Energy crying, like when are they gonna come?"

Rep. Bob Cortes, R-Altamonte Springs, wants to cut the wait times for power restoration and make sure this doesn't happen again.

"We want to hold Duke accountable for everything that's going on. We want answers from Duke," he said. 

Duke Energy says a representative will meet with the Seminole County lawmakers at the Seminole County Delegation meeting on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the Seminole County Chambers in Sanford.  Duke Energy said the majority of power should be restored in Central Florida by Tuesday night.