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Clay County families vexed by recent power outages

Clay Electric anticipates necessary repairs could take up to several weeks

Power outages plague Clay County
Power outages plague Clay County

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Thousands of Clay County residents have been plagued with regular power outages over the past few weeks, and Clay Electric can’t rule out any more outages down the road.

News4Jax has heard from hundreds of residents, who said they have seen multiple outages in recent weeks. Some said they’ve had five to six outages in a single day.

The biggest outage appeared to happen Friday morning and affected more than 28,000 customers. Among those impacted were numerous schools that went without air conditioning for part of the day.

RELATED: 8 schools, VA clinic among Clay Electric customers that lost power

One area that saw a lot of outages was Lake Asbury.

“The last three mornings — Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — I got up with no power," resident Lynne Brown said. “So if you’ve got to get up and go somewhere and you’ve got a flashlight trying to get ready."

Brown, who called the outages annoying, told News4Jax she lives with an elderly family member who’s on oxygen. Because of that, she said the frequent power losses have hit their family particularly hard.

“When the power goes off and they can’t give us a definite time about when it comes back on, it makes it very annoying because you have to come get a bottle, a tank, which only works for 4 hours,” she added.

Clay Electric told News4Jax the main problem stems from a 30-mile high voltage line that serves thousands of homes and businesses throughout the county. During Friday’s outage, two insulators failed at the same time in areas that are difficult for crews to access.

Now, the utility said it has made replacing all the insulators on the line a priority. So far, the utility has been able to replace roughly 20 percent of the 1,000 or so insulators on that line. A spokeswoman said the utility is flying a helicopter over the line’s path to trace areas that need to be fixed first.

Clay Electric spokeswoman Kathy Richardson said fixing this utility line will take awhile.

“The timeline on these repairs and this 30-mile section of line being addressed is several weeks to get this all upgraded and completed,” Richardson said.

When News4Jax asked if that mean there would be more outages, Richardson could not guarantee there wouldn’t be more coming. “That’s difficult to say — it’s a physical distribution system,” she said.

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