Published: Nov 12, 2010 11:42 PM EST
Updated: Nov 12, 2010 8:15 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Gas restoration order is listed below. Officials caution customers to utilize only trained authorized personnel to work with natural gas transmission lines, meters and associated equipment currently dysfunctional because of yesterday's main gas line explosion in eastern Lee County.

The TECO People's Gas line has been repaired, after being damaged by a construction vehicle working on the expansion of Colonial Boulevard near SR 82. Approximately 6,500 customers lost their gas connection, and company representatives say it could take up to a week to get all service restored.

As in any emergency, restoration of the utility will occur in order of priority with the largest and most critical customers, such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and emergency service facilities, first.

Commercial customers, such as hotels and restaurants will be next, and residential customers will be third. If a less critical customers is on the same line as a critical facility, then their service may be restored more quickly (similar to what happens in restoring power following a hurricane).

A key factor in the service restoration is making sure that customers get in touch with TECO People's Gas as quickly as possible, and maintain contact. Each customer must be contacted twice by TECO People's Gas before service can be restored.

Customers are advised by TECO People's Gas to insure safety by not turning off the gas at the meter. They may turn off gas to specific appliances using the local valve located near the appliance. More information is available at www.peoplesgas.com and by calling 1-877-832-6747.

Customers should enact their emergency plan substituting another energy source for their gas system, as they would in a natural emergency.