Tampa Electric customers frustrated over repeated power outages

TAMPA, FLA - Tampa Electric customers who live in Brandon said they are frustrated by random and repeated power outages.

Two families said they happen every one to two weeks and it has been going on for years. The amount of time their power is out varies every single time, the families said.

Some of the people impacted by the power outages live in Woodberry Estates.

“It’s annoying, you know. You pay for electricity. You expect it to work,” Lori Havert said.

Tampa Electric looked into the power outages for ABC Action News. They said they started working on fixing the issue, during the summer.

“You can’t trust anything to run during the day, even something like the dishwasher,” Tom Weeks, who lives in Woodberry Estates said.

According to Cherie Jacobs with Tampa Electric, the source of the problem is bamboo hitting a power line and when that happens, it knocks off the power to everyone on the circuit. Jacobs said that’s 1,000 customers or more each time. Jacobs said the bamboo is on private property and she said their hands are tied.

“We have tried to work with that customer and the vegetation is on private property. Unfortunately we cannot remove it and the homeowner (does not want) to remove it,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said they have fixed some of the issues already to minimize any impact on the customers, but they are waiting for a permit. They plan to move the power line.

“We know these customers are frustrated by these repeated outages and that’s exactly why we’ve designed the solution and we’re going to fix this for them,” Jacobs said.

Havert said she appreciates what TECO is doing to fix the problem.

“I’m kind of wondering why the private owner won’t let them cut the bamboo, but one way or another it needs to be resolved,” Havert said.

Tampa Electric stated it is unclear when this will be resolved, but it is one of the items at the top of their list.

“It’s just one of those….you just want to see an end,” Tom Weeks said.

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