Five days af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma,

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Gabrielle Rus­son

thou­sands in the Cen­tral Florida re­gion still don’t have power — with some be­ing told they won’t get it back un­til Tues­day ... maybe.

For many Cen­tral Florid­i­ans, the frus­tra­tion in­ten­si­fied Satur­day as Duke En­ergy ex­tended out­age times for cus­tomers on the Or­ange-Lake county bor­der to the end of Tues­day.

Sun­day was the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate for elec­tric­ity to be re­stored.

About 31,600 Or­ange cus­tomers and 8,000 in Lake were still with­out power, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s mid-day Satur­day up­date.

“We’re ba­si­cally re­build­ing the elec­tric power sys­tem,” said Duke En­ergy spokes­woman Tam­mie McGee. “That is quite a chal­lenge. … These ar­eas had more sig­nif­i­cant dam­age than was first imag­ined.”

Florida Power and Light es­ti­mated about 6,400 were still in the dark Satur­day in Semi­nole County, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

Restora­tion was ex­pected to reach 90 per­cent over the week­end, 95 per­cent by Mon­day and 100 per­cent by Tues­day, the com­pany said.

Mary Emanuel, a para­le­gal who lives in north Or­ange County, said she has felt stranded since the power went out.

“We un­der­stand they are work­ing and ev­ery­one is in line,” said Emanuel, who lives west of U.S. High­way 441. “The prob­lem is, we don’t think we’re in line.”

The Duke En­ergy map in­cor­rectly showed her home was back online. When she called the com­pany, she couldn’t get an­swers. The au­to­mated sys­tem kept say­ing she was the first to re­port an out­age. Her neigh­bors drove around try­ing to flag line crews, but there were no trucks to be seen.

“There’s re­ally a con­cern,” Emanuel said Satur­day. “No one seems to un­der­stand we’re out of power.”

McGee said the hur­ri­cane over­whelmed the com­pany’s sys­tems.

Cus­tomers should ig­nore any mes­sages that say, “We see no out­ages in your area” or “You are the first to re­port an out­age in your area,” she said.

If peo­ple re-re­port out­ages, it does not place them at the end of restora­tion process, McGee added. Re­pair work starts with the large trans­mis­sion sys­tems and works its way down to in­di­vid­ual neigh­bor­hoods.

“We con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence some tech­ni­cal chal­lenges, but our work will con­tinue un­til we have ev­ery cus­tomer re­stored,” she said.

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