First, for a bit more background read my previous article: https://sheilamurrey.net/2022/09/30/aftermath-from-hurricane-ian/

On 9/28/2022 we lost our electric power at 11AM in the morning, just a few hours after hurricane Ian brought the first bands of wind into Bradenton, Florida.

Our 55+ community in Bradenton, Florida has underground utilities (no power poles or lines) and sustained no building damages from Hurricane Ian, except some broken tree limbs and a few trees downed from high winds.

Closest down palm tree to our parking area
Only half of the tree cleanup pile from around our building
Closeup of the tree cleanup pile to show size of branches
We are high and dry here; we were not in an evacuation zone (we are in the black circle the black box was calling out to)
We had wind gusts of 97mph in Bradenton

Would you think we would be out of electricity for 8 days by looking at these images???

Instead of merely complaining, I offer some questions and potential solutions to improve Florida Power & Light (FPL) customer relations.

55+ Communities deserve priority

Why FPL should prioritize 55+ communities

One reason people buy into 55+ communities is so we have LESS WORRIES about exterior building maintenance, lawn care, utilities, and so on. The people who bought houses and condos in our 55+ community in Bradenton, Florida did so in part because the neighborhood is a half mile away from a trauma center hospital and is supposed to be on the hospital power grid, as well as because the community has underground utilities, no power poles and lines to detract from the beauty of nature we all enjoy while walking, swimming, playing tennis, and such. Most of us have worked our butts off to enjoy a few twilight years!

FPL has a monopoly on providing electricity in our county and many other Florida counties. Free country, right? Believe that if you want, but it sure doesn’t seem to be. And free speech? LOL Oh, that’ll have to be another post. I went on the Facebook FPL page to express, not just our disappointment but to offer potential solutions and more people called me names than supported my statements. What kind of world do we live in now? I’m trying to raise awareness and fight for what’s fair and right! Where’s FPL’s honor to its elder customers? My husband says he will NOT be paying our bill the day it comes out anymore. We will wait until the DUE DATE from now on. (That’s one way to get FPL’s attention, I guess). They sure don’t prioritize power restoration based on who pays their bills first!

FPL must improve their communications to customers

FPL must improve their communications so people can learn when their power (within 2-3 hours) will be restored. Don’t fail us by taking FIVE DAYS to tell us anything and then overestimate by five MORE days! Come on!!

It’s only a numbers game to FPL – On 9/29/2022 FPL had 125,940 customers without electricity per phone app
On 9/29/2022 FPL had 125,450 customers without electricity – website information
On 9/30/2022 FPL had 88,220 customers without electricity
On 10/01/2022 FPL had 71,820 customers without electricity
Bad design; there were no “triangles” to click on
We saw this same message for FIVE DAYS (first five days of hurricane Ian)

FPL must improve on restoring power to those with underground utilities

Speaking of those underground utilities, how can a community with underground electricity lines lose power? And for 8 days? I’d love FPL to answer that question. Did they turn it off intentionally??? Did a power station have an issue that fed electricity into our grid? And why is only a small part of our community on the hospital grid and not our WHOLE community?

Did FPL “harden” their equipment to help prevent power outages, as they were supposed to after the hurricane Irma lawsuit? FPL was charged with providing their customers continuous service even during foreseeable wind events by implementing storm hardening improvements. Are underground lines considered part of that plan?

The four bulleted list action plan on the FPL website is sorely lacking. And we all know, even if a company has a plan and processes, it doesn’t mean employees and staff are following them!

55+ communities should be prioritized along with hospitals, care facilities, police, and fire stations

Why we took action

We wrote to FPL, many state legislators, our community association (because they were inept!), and other civic leaders to express our sincere disappointment and frustration with FPL, as well as our community association (who could have done more, in the ways of notifications, buy a deep freezer just for these occasions so residents can freeze food, etc. have a hotline to FPL, or such). And I’ll be sending this to the Florida Public Service Commission.

Our homeowners association didn’t notify residents that power was on in the community clubhouse building–we had to learn that by stopping in to the office to ask if THEY may have had an update from FPL (more than the nothing kind of messages on the FPL website and app) or put in calls to them because FPL gave NO INFORMATION on when our power might be restored for FIVE DAYS!!!

Facebook was no help. Even while I had internet in the hotel, it would not let me post messages such as this.

Our Florida state governor stated multiple times in Live videos we saw prior to the hurricane, Florida was getting 20,000 additional linemen. However, we didn’t see ONE power truck in our neighborhood for FIVE DAYS! Nor do we know when they arrived because once we finally got the news from the FPL website that we wouldn’t have power for an additional five days, we left and went to a hotel that had power in St. Petersburg, FL! We had to wonder if they drove right by because all our utilities are underground! We’re also disappointed because this was our FOURTH power outage within a year of living here (and we were somehow led to believe when we rented this condo that we were on the power grid with the hospital), which we’re NOT!

Someone isn’t doing their job at FPL (and at our community office). And yes, many of the 600+ residents here aren’t happy about it.

Facebook was no help. I tried to post a video using hotspot to my iPhone and while my laptop was charged. It never posted.

When we went to our 55+ community clubhouse building to charge medical devices and other necessities, every available power outlet was in use (many elderly ladies were charing their phones, iPads, tablets, and more because their whole building had the power out). But here’s the thing. Every month someone comes around to hand deliver a community calendar to us, and each resident, but NO ONE came around to see if residents were okay, or tell us that the clubhouse had power! I can understand they only have one fridge and it was full (so they put a note on it to tell people not to cram in more–imagine!) BUY ANOTHER FRIDGE or DEEP FREEZE!!!

Charging my laptop in the rec room of the community building.

We are certainly glad we didn’t experience the horrific damage that cities and areas south of us, or all the way across the state over to Daytona Beach where they had flooding (friends of ours house flooded in Port Orange), and of course, we’re sad that more than one hundred people have lost their lives to hurricane Ian. It’s all tragic. All we can do is learn from this experience.

Thankfully we had cooler weather after the hurricane because otherwise many more could have died

Potential for Lawsuits

After reading this: https://www.wlrn.org/news/2022-01-04/judge-says-hurricane-irma-outages-qualify-for-class-action-lawsuit-against-fpl

I believe there will potentially be lawsuits surrounding the poor communication and length of power outages after hurricane Ian. FPL makes millions of dollars off the backs of the people. Had Edison not beat out Tesla back in the day, we ALL would have had FREE POWER a hundred years ago! So, the people are mad. The people are frustrated. And especially us Boomers (Baby Boomers) who have a memory of past hurricanes and did our best, we pay attention, and we take ACTION when we know we’re being taken advantage of. I’m quite sure our neighbors will be voting in new board members soon in our 55+ community association. Unfortunately we can’t vote on who runs FPL.

Do you agree? If you don’t, call me what you will, but I am not simply complaining, I’m taking action because I can, for our elder neighbors. I believe in education and sharing.

There was really no excuse for FPL’s lack of communication and getting it so wrong, telling us five days after the hurricane we’d have to wait another five days, then surprisingly turning our power back on in a couple more days, which caused us to have to leave a hotel a day and a half after checking in and carrying belongings in/out etc. And THAT stress and over exertion brought on my husband’s stroke on 10/6/2022 (more in next article about that).

We suffered mental duress and physical strain, again culminating in my having to call 911 two days after returning home from the hotel, because my husband couldn’t walk or talk properly. At the hospital we learned he suffered an ischemic brain stem stroke. I maintain that happened due to the stress and extra physical exertion lugging stuff in/out of the community clubhouse to recharge things, and then to a hotel with a day and a half (we would have stayed at home had FPL told us they would restore our power by Monday evening instead of 11:45PM on the Wednesday following the storm. I think a class action suit should ask for pain and suffering damages as well as lost profits (I had to take vacation time when the power went off, as well as to be in the hospital after my husband’s stroke), loss of perishable foods, hotel cost, gas, and more. FPL has collected money from customers to strengthen power systems, I’d sure like to know if that happened because it didn’t help us.

55+ communities need power restored first with care facilities and hospitals!!! It was unacceptable for our neighbors to be without power 8 days (FPL had said it would be 10 days)! These folks paid more for their condos because they have underground utilities! That and the fact that someone said or inferred we were on the hospital grid is why we moved to this particular community. One thing is for sure, we’ll be moving to another town, probably in the northern Florida area by August of 2023. I’ve already got a couple of realtors looking for something small for us.

ABOUT ME

I have a NEW metaphysical book coming out SOON! Stay tuned. I’m in the final formatting process of the book, but was slowed due to my “love of my life” husband’s stroke and needing to be with him at the hospital because I love him and to be an advocate for him since it affected his speech. But I’ll post another article when it’s ready, be sure of it.

I have a passion for WORDS and Connecting people. In particular, I love speaking and writing about spiritual and consciousness raising topics, holistic wellness and simple healthy living. I am empathic, intuitive, compassionate, and kind, with a keen and unified wisdom about life.

I’m an Amazon bestselling author of two co-authored books: “Transform Your Life Book 2 Inspirational Stories and Expert Advice” and “Energy of Receiving”, available on Amazon. Plus, I’ve written a health book (in the making for 13 years), Take It Upon Yourself to Live a Wholly Vibrant Life, that’s available here.

OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Conversations surrounding emotional balance, moral ambiguities, and deep spiritual truths (such as We Are All Connected, and Put Your Hands Together When You Pray), are what Sheila is most passionate about.

Sheila feels a profound empathic Connection with people and what they’re going through by merely sharing her own truth, speaking freely about her personal struggles, and shares authentically about the challenges she continues to overcome. Sheila strives to ease lonelines, strengthen the will of those exiting toxic relationships, remind us all that we are stronger than we think we are, and that eventually, Everything Resolves to Gratitude.

Be who your soul beckons you to be.

Here’s us: https://vimeo.com/416711742?ref=fb-share

Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe.

5 thoughts on “Disappointed in FPL Response to Hurricane Ian

    1. Me too! But unfortunately, two days after our power was restored and we came back home, my husband had a stroke! During the first few days he was in the hospital I picked up an upper respiratory infection and am also still recovering. We are like the blind leading the blind around our condo now! Oy! I am feeling better but still coughing and hubby has months of therapy ahead of him as well. We’re quite the pair! So my being “okay” is relative. Ha!

      1. Oh Sheila,
        When it rains it pours and I can’t believe this “stroke of “unluck”. I’m soooo sorry to hear this. Do check out Jill Bolton Taylor’s Ted talk my stroke of insight here. https://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_my_stroke_of_insight?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

        Sending you lots of love and healing as you muddle through and so sorry you got sick as well. Take good care.. xoxoxoxo ❤️🙏🏼

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