Gov. DeSantis Calls Out Lee County Electric Cooperative for Intentionally Delaying Power Restoration after Ian!

Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the Lee County Electric Cooperative is moving too slowly restoring power to its customers in the hardest-hit communities in Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian and needs to ask for more help in terms of mutual assistance.

We’ve been talking about many deliberate sabotage attempts and failure to respond in emergency situations with responsible actions during the cat 4-5 hurricane Ian in Lee County. We’ve touched on what people before, during and after the storm were reporting, or shall we say “whistle blowing”. Today, we now have those in authority, such as Governor DeSantis, speaking up and out…or shall we say “calling out” some of those who are doing it.

Before we begin, please read the bulletin Gov. DeSantis posted on the Florida Government website. A direct link is posted under the report.

Lee County Electric Cooperative has made some serious blunders and created hardships way before Ian hit. In the early parts of the past summer, when many customers noticed bills double what they would usually pay, the cost of natural gas had climbed more than 360%. Cape Coral, Mayor John Gunter had the company speak due to, what he called, “misinformation” about skyrocketing power bills many customers noticed over the summer.

“What I don’t know, what I can’t predict is what natural gas is going to do. The supply is in such disarray. When you think about the war between Russia and Ukraine and the suppliers of natural gas, they are hesitant to oversupply,” said Vidal.

That is the perfect example of how a crisis is created and then blamed on others when convenient!

Blame Russia and Ukraine to excuse the price of gas going up 360% during a summer season when electric bills more than double and wages stayed the same. We are not in Europe – this is America! The city council in charge of the Cooperative program should have looked for alternatives for the city. Why didn’t they? Now they are stuck with outrageous bills and no power and no real plans to restore it properly. So that problem was put in front of DeSantis and got his attention. It sure looks like a lot of mismanagement and a good example of what weak leadership does. It puts the community in a state of highway robbery and bull for explanations while they use a crisis as an excuse. Read: LCEC leaders promise to improve at forecasting power costs (fox4now.com)

The truth is… Biden shut down the pipe line and sold our oil reserves to European markets because they all decided to go green due to a fictitious climate change agenda. So tell the truth Videl. And the Mayor showed weakness and lack of leadership. Or is that the city managers job? Or is the city councils job? Or is all of their jobs? It is all of their responsibilities but when you have Uncle Joey Avatar doing stupid things to destroy America from within as President, and you have spineless mayor and misinformed council among deceptive council members, topped off with a liberal city manager doing a sister city UN agenda without the knowledge of the people…. pushing them slowly up against the wall where he will pop up and have the answer at the right moment…to join the UN Sister City Program…that is CORRUPTION! And that is how they do it the progressive way.

DeSantis learned the FP&L said more than 45% of their accounts in Lee County were back on, but the LCEC reported restored power just to 9% of their customers, which represents about 18,000 out of 183,000.

It was unclear Sunday morning (Oct. 2, 2022) if the LCEC had called out to the exchange or anyone else for help. A pair of spokeswomen for the LCEC contacted Sunday morning for comment did not immediately respond.

The nonprofit electric cooperative, which purchases its electricity from FP&L, counts zero customers with power in Cape Coral, Pine Island, and in some of Lee County and parts of Collier, Hendry, Charlotte, and Broward counties.

That is a big fat “O” Zero, zip, nadda, none!!!!!

A LCEC press release Sunday said as soon as the storm passed, LCEC had 1,000 boots on the ground to restore power. Seriously? Fact check…no they did not. They may have had boots on the ground and standing…they did not have boots on the ground restoring. They did not go out as soon as the storm passed unless they meant passed through Orlando…for that is where it was when they moved their boots off the ground.

Meanwhile the Cape Coral Emergency Response Update has finally kicked into gear. After a few interventions.

Cape Coral Hurricane Recovery Update

• The EOC remains at a level one activation. We’re working around the clock to continue providing support to our community.

• First responders have cleared all backlogged calls and are responding to calls for service as usual.

• We are working on obtaining FEMA points of distribution for essential supplies, such as water. When we have more information on the location of the points of distribution, we will post the information.

• The City of Cape Coral continues to mirror the County’s curfew, from 9 PM to 6 AM.

POWER AND UTILITIES

• LCEC and City of Cape Coral officials have been working on completing a damage assessment. Crews will begin the next phase of restoration, focusing on major facilities.

• During the storm, we lost 99% of the power to the City. LCEC has over 1000 crews devoted to restoring power, beginning October 1.

• Saturday (10/1) at 7 AM, electric lines will be energized. If you see a downed line, stay away from it and assume it is live.

• The City has crews working through the night to restore water to our City.

OPEN BUSINESSES

• We are asking businesses to complete a status report at https://veoci.com/v/p/form/ng64443wyxc5?c=214736 so we can provide a list of open stores to our residents.

VOLUNTEER INFO AND DAMAGE CLEAN-UP

• If you’re looking to donate or volunteer, we recommend contacting the Red Cross, Volunteer Florida, and United Way by calling 2-1-1.

• If you need help with damage clean-up, contact Crisis Cleanup at 800-451-1954.

• You can also register for FEMA assistance at fema.gov/disaster/hurricane-ian.

ROADWAY SAFETY

• The National Guard and police from across Florida are here to assist our officers.

• Some intersections are working using generator power.

• For the intersections still not working, treat them like a four-way stop.

DEBRIS CLEAN-UP

• Clearing the City’s streets is a top priority. Crews have cleared approximately 3,000 miles of major roadways and local roads. Call 311 if you identify any streets that were not cleared.

• For information on organizing your debris for waste pick up and additional information such as debris drop-off sites, please visit www.capecoral.gov.

Video of announcement for Cape Coral, Lee County: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=402776568690267&tn=F

In an article written by “The Last Refuge” they cover it so well, I am just going to repost their article here. It is a must read. We have to pay attention to our municipalities and remind them…they work for us. And they can only get away with corruption if we allow it. When a disaster happens, it is so easy to take advantage of people and blame things on the storm. Unless we have good leadership from the community and the state we are left to their mercy of what they decide to do. Some decisions that are made are self serving and not for the good of the people.

Municipalities in every town across the nation are put together to serve the people and the only way to end corruption is to end it first on a local level. It is the local level that vote people to represent them in State Government and Federal Government. People vote for their leadership and that begins in your little home town or big city! From your Sheriff to your Mayor. Vote wisely and get involved. That being said, here is the article.

Profits Over People, Florida Governor DeSantis Calls Out Lee County Electric Cooperative for Intentionally Delaying Power Restoration, Here is the Backstory.

October 1, 2022 | Sundance |

The Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) provides power utility coverage to approximately 200,000 homes in Sanibel, Cape Coral and Pine Island: three of the hardest hit western zone regions in the Hurricane Ian disaster.  Hundreds of people have asked me in my extensive travels why there are zero power trucks visible in Cape Coral working on the power grid, downed power lines and broken infrastructure.  Now, it looks like we have the answer.

What LCEC is intentionally doing is jaw-dropping.  In all my years of hurricane recovery, there has never –NEVER– been a more crystal-clear example of a decision to put profits over people.  LCEC is literally taking advantage of tens of thousands of vulnerable residents. Tonight, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is calling them out [LINK].  I will explain what is happening, but first check out the DeSantis message:

image 9

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, after receiving a briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center on current efforts to restore power in Southwest Florida, Governor DeSantis called on the Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) to accept additional mutual aid to expedite power restoration to the residents of Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Sanibel and Pine Island.

At this time, Florida Power and Light (FPL) has restored power to more than 45% of their accounts in Lee County, while LCEC has only restored power to 9% of their accounts (18,000 out of 183,000 customers). To assist in restoration efforts, the Florida Electrical Cooperatives Association has readied resources from its members around the state that are available to deploy on mutual aid.

Mutual aid would allow the LCEC to expedite power restoration, especially to Cape Coral and North Fort Myers as residents return to their homes and begin the road to recovery. Power restoration in these areas is also essential to resume the full use of essential services such as health care facilities, operation of schools and ensure access to running water. (link)

Please share this part far and wide.  You know me to call the baby ugly when warranted; this is one such time. People in the impact zone need to know what is happening.

The Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) purchases energy from Florida Power and Light (FP&L).  LCEC then passes along the energy cost to the Sanibel, Cape Coral and Pine Island residents in the form of traditional electricity billing.

image 10

Most of the energy provided by FP&L to southwest Florida comes from natural gas used to generate electricity.  Natural gas prices have skyrocketed.  Because natural gas has spiked in price so quickly; and because there is a natural lag in billing customers before payment is due; LCEC was temporarily billing people less than the current cost of the energy they were purchasing from FP&L.

The price billed to LCEC customers was short-term lower than the price LCEC was paying for the energy.  This resulted in a tens of million-dollar losses for LCEC. [NOTE: this is what is happening in Europe and why the EU central bank is subsidizing free short-term bridge loans to smaller electricity providers]

Rather than add another surcharge to the LCEC customers to make up the difference, LCEC is now using Hurricane Ian as an opportunity to true-up their costs and balance the deficit.

As long as zero electricity is being purchased from FP&L; and as long as customers pay their electricity bills by October 9th (due date), LCEC will have a substantive period of time where their receipts (from customers) exceed their purchases (from FP&L).   With inbound income and no outbound expenses, the previous financial deficit is removed.

How does LCEC stop purchasing energy?….  Simple, they just don’t rebuild the power grind, thereby delaying the need for payments to FP&L.

This is why there is almost ZERO effort to restore power in Cape Coral, Pine Island and North Fort Myers and mutual aid providers asking why?

LCEC leadership will likely try to hide behind plausible deniability due to the severity of the damage combined with their “non-profit” status.  But make no mistake, we are five days post event and LCEC is not even removing downed power poles and power lines.  The mutual aid utility companies are standing there wondering why LCEC is not asking for help.  The slow pace is akin to doing almost nothing.

This is a top-level decision by LCEC leadership to put operational profit over the urgent power restoration need of their customers.  I guarantee you Florida Governor Ron DeSantis knows exactly what LCEC is doing, and why LCEC is doing it.  Unfortunately, DeSantis is being politically diplomatic in sending a shot across their bow rather than directly explain to people what the true motive is behind LCEC’s decision.

Those of you I have met in recent recovery efforts, there’s the answer to your question.  LCEC is not making any effort to restore power because LCEC doesn’t want to restore power; at least not yet.  A few opportunistic weeks without having to purchase energy covers the prior financial deficit.  Yes, Hurricane Ian has provided them an opportunity to recover previous financial losses.

Angry?  You bet I’m angry.  Now imagine if 200,000 people found out what is really going on.

This is the single most egregious example of putting profits over people in all my years of Hurricane recovery and relief.   LCEC is literally blocking recovery efforts because there is a financial reason not to recover.  Meanwhile, thousands of people are suffering, businesses are closed and losing money. Worse still food, fuel, healthcare services and water recovery (so much more) are being blocked by this LCEC decision.

Ron DeSantis was far too kind in his approach…. screw the donations and politics of Big Energy.  Put Attorney General Ashley Moody on it now or use the power of the Florida Governor’s Office to take control over the utility provider.

Do not give Charlie Crist this opening.  Go full wolverine, now.

That said, let’s watch and see how LCEC responds to the forceful nudge. END of Article.

Please get the word out! Profits Over People, Florida Governor DeSantis Calls Out Lee County Electric Cooperative for Intentionally Delaying Power Restoration, Here is the Backstory – The Last Refuge (theconservativetreehouse.com)

This isn’t the first time LCEC has been slack in providing good service to SWF. Read: Power Outages Frustrate Sanibel Residents, Business Community (santivachronicle.com)

It is time to call corporate companies and their CEO’s out! Stop the schemes they devise and hide behind during disasters to take advantage of people who rely on their services. Expose those in leadership positions in municipalities who allow it and support those who fight against corruption!

Keep on pressing into the Kingdom of God! Press, press, press!

Dianne

By Dianne Marshall

I don't sleep I write! Author, Graphic Artist, Researcher and lover of the truth.

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