Florida Gas Outage Contractor's Fault, Gas Company SaysNov 16, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
concern According to a TECO press release issued last month, the gas outage in the Ft. Myers and Naples areas is the result of damage to an eight-inch natural gas line caused by Posen Construction.
The press release asserts that the natural gas line had been properly located on Colonial Road by TECO Peoples Gas prior to the incident. However, after the locate, the test stations and line markings were destroyed during road widening construction work being performed by Posen Construction. Despite warnings to not dig in the area until the line could be located again and the test stations rebuilt, TECO said the contractor proceeded with the construction work, which resulted in the line break.
The gas outage affected some 1,200 residential and 6,000 commercial TECO customers in Southwestern Florida. Restaurants where especially hard hit. They had been expecting a lucrative weekend, as several events, including the 2010 American Sand Sculpting Championship and Beach Festival on Fort Myers Beach and the 22nd Roy Hobbs World Series, an adult baseball tournament, had brought thousands of tourists to the area for the weekend. One restaurant owner who was lucky to have her gas service restored on Monday told NaplesNews.com that she lost roughly $3,000 per day because of the outage.
TECO did say in its press release that it has made progress restoring gas service to some customers. As of Monday night, service had been restored to 990 residential and 920 commercial customers. Having shut off and locked down the meters of 100 percent of customers affected by last Thursday’s natural gas main break, the company expects to focus on restoring gas service to several neighborhoods today. They are:
• Pelican Preserve
• West Bay
• Bella Largo
• Miromar Lakes (East)
• Miromar Lakes (West)
• The Rookery
• Porto Romano at Miromar
To restore service, TECO Peoples Gas crews must enter a customer’s home or business to restore gas service and re-light pilots. The company is encouraging customers to have someone at least 18 years of age available at their home or business to allow crews to enter and take the necessary steps to begin the restoration process. If someone is not present, crews will leave a door hanger asking the customer to call.
Over the next several days, customers can expect a telephone call from TECO Peoples Gas that will let them know crews will be restoring gas service in their neighborhood. If customers believe they missed the call, they will be able to find the list of neighborhoods being worked on our website, peoplesgas.com, the release said.
Restaurants and other businesses impacted by TECO’s gas outage can receive assistance with business interruption claim at www.yourlawyer.com.