Neighbors frustrated after FPL disowned down transformer

Over a dozen families say not only are they without power and without water, they're also without answers after their utility company denied being responsible for a transformer that was destroyed during Irma.

PALATKA, Fla. - Over a dozen families in a Putnam County neighborhood say an ownership dispute over a split power pole has kept them without power, water or answers.

A damaged electrical transformer sits in a yard in the 400 block of West Oak Street in Palatka, taking blocks of power lines with it.  

Neighbor Vivian Wright watches Oak Street from her porch after six days of no electricity and inoperable water pumps. 

"Trees are still down in the road," she says while fanning herself furiously. "I can't take a shower, I can't wash my hair, I'm coming home in the dark [at night]."

Wright knows she is one of thousands in Florida without power, but she's one of very few who were completely in the dark about who would be coming to help. 

"A guy came out and said that Florida Power and Light doesn't own that," she said. "[He said] it was Clay Electric."

She added, Clay Electric told her they had nothing to do with it, especially since the company she pays monthly is FPL.

"I was shocked, [FPL] put up a sign here saying they weren't responsible." Wright said. "Who owns it, and when are we going to get power?"

The sign posted next to the transformer said the area was a "non-FPL facility" and instructed the reader not to report the damage to FPL but to use caution around a downed line. 

First Coast News contacted both Clay Electric and FPL for a comment. 

An FPL representative responded Friday afternoon acknowledging they are responsible for the transformer and have added West Oak Street to their crew list. FPL could not provide an estimated time for power restoration or an explanation for why the mistake happened. 

William Poole, an amputee diabetic said his elderly neighbors are growing desperate. Poole travels across town daily to charge his motorized scooter and oxygen tank, but feels their neighborhood has been ignored.

"We don't have fans, we don't have generators because we can't afford to buy them," said Poole. "We wish someone would bring supplies or water to a poor neighborhood. We see trucks full of water going through here to other places, but what about us?"

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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