JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Following the failure to turn on power for thousands of customers in time for a self-imposed deadline, JEA CEO Paul McElroy met with the media on Wednesday to explain the delay.
McElroy praised his employees in the field, saying crews are working tirelessly to restore power to the over 18,000 still sitting in the dark in Duval County. Still, those same crews were unable to turn on the lights by 11:59 p.m. Monday.
The self-imposed deadline came and went and JEA customers let their feelings be known. From social media posts to calls and letters to Mayor Lenny Curry, out-of-power customers said they felt letdown and overlooked.
"I think - in hindsight - it's a shame that one commitment built expectations we didn't deliver on," McElroy said.
McElroy said "we blew it" on Tuesday. The next day, McElroy clarified that he was putting the blame on leadership not the JEA crews.
The CEO said the company has been delayed due to Hurricane Matthew's "devastation of trees" in the area. He offered regret for putting out a deadline that clearly missed the mark.
"I think if we had to do it over again, we wouldn't have done that," McElroy said.
McElroy said there are four times the amount of crews working to fix the power than there would be following a normal storm. JEA has accepted help with all who have offered, according to McElroy.
The imported crews make up roughly 500 workers and McElroy hopes the drop in outages will move quickly.
"In terms of customer satisfaction, that is key to us," McElroy said.
As of Wednesday evening, JEA had 18,500 customers without power.