Duke Energy repairs Oviedo streetlights after News 6 report

Utility company says it inadvertently canceled work order to fix lights

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

OVIEDO, Fla. - Several streetlights will be re-illuminated on an Oviedo road after News 6 got answers as to why it took so long to make the repairs.

News 6 first reported the outages along Lockwood Boulevard from West Riviera to Seminole Creek Drive on Wednesday. 

[PREVIOUS STORY: Oviedo resident fights to get streetlights re-illuminated]

After the story, Duke Energy sent contractors out to that stretch of roadway Thursday to make the repairs.

A Duke Energy spokesperson said the utility company learned of the power outages in October after a fiberoptics company may have hit one of their underground cables and knocked power out to the streetlights.

But Duke said it inadvertently canceled the work order and the repairs were never made, until News 6 brought it to the company's attention. A viewer sent News 6 video showing the outage and asked for help finding a solution.

Oviedo Mayor Dominic Persampiere said he was frustrated and disappointed that it took this long to fix the lights.

"The amount of emails I've sent, staff has sent, the resident has sent. The responses are always the same: It's an underground electrical issue. OK, that's fine. We get it. Things are mechanical, things break," Persampiere said. 

The mayor credits News 6 for getting the repairs done.

"I'm grateful to the resident who contacted [WKMG] for bringing awareness to this issue because boy, oh boy, they've seemed to jump on it all of a sudden," the mayor said.

Resident Philip Szczepanski is also thankful to have the lights back on.

"At least since you guys came around, I'd say we're finally getting the results we need around here," he said.

Duke said 10 of the lights in the area will be back on Thursday night. Crews made temporary repairs and plan to make permanent repairs in the future. Duke officials said 10 other lights will remain dark due to ongoing construction in the area.

News 6 obtained the following email Duke Energy sent to the mayor regarding the issues and the repairs made:

Hello Mayor,
This is what I've learned from our Lighting team:

We learned of the 10 lights that were out in Oct. 2018. I believe there may have been some confusion because of some previous emails however the information that was uncovered aligns with our October timeframe.

An issue with an underground cable is the cause for why those 10 lights were out. Our crews were able to apply a temporary fix today, which will reilluminate the lights while we work to resolve the underground cable issue permanently.

Unfortunately, the two work orders that featured these 10 lights (received in Oct. 2018), were inadvertently cancelled, which is why they weren't completed in Nov/Dec along with the rest of the works orders we received at the same time. Included in that set of work orders were orders to replace/reconnect the service to the lights that are intentionally out due to the construction mentioned below. When we went to make those repairs, we learned of the ongoing construction and identified that the work orders were void until the construction was complete and the two work orders for the 10 above-mentioned lights were accidentally cancelled along with the work orders associated with the constructions project. We identified this issue today and immediately made repairs to these lights.

Additionally, in the vicinity of Simmons Rd., there is construction work that's being conducted to insert a turning lane due to a subdivision. (this was mentioned in an email to Erik yesterday). The work was supposed to have started in Dec., so we removed 7 lights and service was disconnected to the remaining 3. The construction work was delayed, but started in January and we are planning to reinstall the 7 light fixtures and reconnect the other 3 in mid- March, barring any other construction delays that are out of our control.

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