Southwest Florida Gas Outage
Southwest Florida Gas Outage Business Owner Lawsuits
Southwest Florida Gas Outage | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Financial Loss, TECO Natural Gas Outage, Business Interruption
Thousands of Fort Myers and Naples businesses and homes in Southwest Florida were left without natural gas services following a gas line break on November 11, 2010. More than 6,000 residential and 1,200 residential customers of TECO Peoples Gas were left without gas service for several days. The gas outage posed a particular financial hardship for Southwest Florida restaurants, many of which were forced to close over a busy weekend. Many of these Fort Myers and Naples restaurants lost millions of dollars in business because of the TECO Peoples Gas outage.
Lawyers at our firm who specialize in business interruption claims are investigating possible avenues of compensation for Southwest Florida restaurants that were forced to close because of the TECO Peoples Gas outage. We are offering free consultations to any Southwest Florida restaurant that suffered a financial loss because of the TECO Peoples Gas outage. If your restaurant was among those in the Naples and Fort Myers area that were impacted by the TECO Peoples Gas outage, we urge you to contact one of our business interruption lawyers today.
TECO Gas Outage
The TECO Peoples Gas outage occurred when a heavy-equipment operator working on a road widening project in Lee County hit an eight-inch natural gas line, causing an explosion. While TECO was able to restore natural gas service to a handful of customers, including hospitals, by the weekend, the majority of commercial customers were left without service over the busy weekend. TECO warned that it could be at least a week before it restored service to all residential and commercial customers.
The accident could have been avoided, according to the Lee County Department of Transportation, if a contractor had maintained markers of the gas line’s location. According to various media reports, the gas line that exploded had been temporarily relocated for the widening of Colonial Boulevard. The relocated gas line was marked with yellow PVC pipes, sticking out of the ground by about 4 feet, but some of those markers later disappeared. The Monday prior to the blast, TECO told the contractor working on the road project that the gas company would be out Friday to replace the markers. However, Florida and federal laws still require contractors to know where all underground utilities are located before starting an excavation, whether they are marked or not.
Unlike electricity, which can be restored by repairing a single power line, natural gas requires several steps to restore service. First, each customer's gas service has to be shut off and locked down by a representative of the gas company. By the Sunday night following the gas line explosion, TECO has visited about 85 percent of its affected customers to complete only that first step.
Next, the gas mains have to be repressurized to the appropriate level and inspected. Then, TECO crews will visit each customer and ensure service is restored and pilot lights are relit. Customers must be on the premise in order for this to be completed.
Restaurants from downtown Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach to Bonita Springs and Naples were forced to limit their service or shut down because their cooking and washing capabilities were crippled. Restaurants had been expecting a big 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.
Despite the fact that Southwest Florida restaurants will likely lose millions of dollars because of the gas service interruption, neither TECO nor the contractor responsible for the line break has yet offered anything in the way of compensation. According to various media reports, TECO had already told some of its commercial customers that it would not be providing compensation for their losses.
Legal Help for Southwest Florida Restaurants Affected by the TECO Natural Gas Outage
If you own a restaurant in Southwest Florida that has suffered a financial loss due to the TECO Natural Gas outage, our business interruption lawyers may be able to help you obtain compensation for your losses. Please fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today for your free case evaluation.