57ºF

Gov. Scott frustrated by slow power restoration

33,016 Leon County residents, businesses without power Monday

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Three days after Hermine came ashore as a Category 1 hurricane in Florida's Big Bend, Gov. Rick Scott remains upset over the slow pace of electrical service restoration in the state Capitol. He wants utilities across the state to come up with a better plan for cooperation before a bigger, more devastating storm hits.

At midday Monday, 33,016  homes in Florida were without power, with 26,438 of them were in Tallahassee/Leon County. That was 19 percent of the customers in the county -- a higher percentage of outage than the Gulf Coast counties of Wakulla and Jefferson, where the hurricane came ashore early Friday morning.

Public schools in Leon County and Florida State University will remain closed Tuesday, mostly because electricity has not been restored to all their facilities. Florida A&M University will reopen Tuesday.

While most are served by Tallahassee City Electric, Gulf Power, Lakeland Electric and other utilities have sent more than 100 line crews to help. Utilities have promised that power would be almost completely restored by the end of Monday. 

“The one thing that really bugs me is that when you call up the outage line and they tell you to go to the website," said Joe Greiner, who hasn't had electricity since 8:30 p.m. Thursday. "It's kind of hard to do if you don’t have power.”

Scott said this can’t happen again, especially due to a minimal hurricane. He has called city, county and utility officials to the state Emergency Operations Center every night since the storm hit. Now he’s calling for far better cooperation between Investor owned, municipal and co-op providers.

“The four big utilities work well together. The co-ops work well together and the municipals work well together. They all have to work well together because what if we have a Category 2, Category 3?” Scott said.

The governor met with utility workers Monday afternoon, then called their bosses and locally elected officials back into the EOC at the end of the day.

"The city's goal was to have 90 percent of homes in Tallahassee restored today, but with over 21,000 homes without power, it is clear the city needs more outside resources," Scott said.

State management officials said Monday that 28 state facilities were still without power and county buildings in Jefferson, Leon, Taylor and Wakulla counties remained closed.