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Six days later, many still in the dark across Tampa Bay

A crew contracted by Duke Energy replaces a broken power pole. Neighbors watched them work, hopeful that they'd get their A/C back on. (LARA CERRI   |   Times)
A crew contracted by Duke Energy replaces a broken power pole. Neighbors watched them work, hopeful that they'd get their A/C back on. (LARA CERRI | Times)
Published Sep. 16, 2017

Roughly 21,000 Duke Energy customers remained in the dark Saturday afternoon as crews continued to restore power across Pinellas County.

Across Tampa Bay, about 45,000 customers, with roughly 13,000 of those Tampa Electric customers in Hillsborough, were still without power, according to state data released 3 p.m. Saturday. In Florida, about 973,000 customers still had no electricity.

STUCK IN THE DARK: Thousands fume as Duke Energy misses deadline to restore power

Duke was originally set on restoring power for all customers by Friday. It has now revised its deadline to the end of day Saturday.

"We are in the home stretch of restoring all our customers," said Duke Energy Florida President Harry Sideris in a statement on Friday. "Given the scale and scope of the extensive repairs, we need just a little more time in some areas to finish the job."

Tampa Electric officials said in a statement Saturday they expected to have power fully restored by Sunday night.

"These final days of restoration involve labor-intensive outages, including lines with severe damage," said Gordon Gillette, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. "These repairs – and in some cases, rebuilding – will take some time. Rest assured, we will not stop until all customers are restored."

At the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, manager Dave Lambert said they had restored 98 percent of customers' power by Saturday afternoon, but it may be days for some rural areas to have electricity restored.

"I just came through a place over in Hernando County and they're just pole after pole down," he said. "It's going to take a little while, but we're going to work on it 24/7."

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