For people whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Ian, finding a place to stay is the top priority.
At the Par 4 Mobile Home Community in Collier County, several FEMA trailers have been in place for weeks now, but they’re not suitable for people to live in.
The trailers are ready to go, but the problem is they have no electricity. It took months for the trailers to show up. Hooking them up to power could take another month.
“FEMA held up their end of the bargain. They got everything in weeks ago. Now we’re waiting for FPL,” said James Gaughan, the Par 4 manager.
Gaughan tried to get answers from Florida Power and Light but says he’s also been left in the dark.
“Hit a blank wall. Absolutely nothing. That’s why I reached out to FEMA, and I thought they might have a little bit more juice. Honestly, it’s the federal government, and FP&L even stonewalled the federal government,’ Gaughan said.
Gaughan showed WINK News the email response from FEMA and FPL telling the federal agency due to inspections and electrical hookups, there’s a 30-day wait.
“My heart goes out to the people who are waiting for these homes that are just waiting sitting here empty because fp&l is putting them on the back burner, and I just don’t understand why,” said Gaughan.
Gaughan is hoping FPL will do something to speed up the process. “I’m not asking for tomorrow but come on guys, let’s get on the ball there’s a lot of people depending on you, and you’re letting them down.”
WINK News reached out to FPL, which provided the following statement:
We are working with FEMA to connect these trailers to electricity safely and as quickly as possible. In some cases, these trailers are located in areas that may require new infrastructure to be built, including setting new poles and running additional power lines, so that customers can safely receive power. Before FPL can connect service to any FEMA trailer, it must also be inspected by a FEMA-requested licensed electrician. We realize Hurricane Ian victims are looking to return to normalcy as quickly as possible, and we’re committed to restoring service for them as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Gaughan hopes FPL can hook up the units this week so residents can move in by next week.