Published: Nov 15, 2010 5:42 PM EST
Updated: Nov 15, 2010 1:34 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - 1,600 TECO customers (out of 7,200) have service fully restored. Of those, 750 are businesses (out of 1200) and 850 are residential (out of 6000).

Residential customers who are not home when crews arrive will get a door hanger with information to set up an appointment. TECO is trying to make crews available in the early mornings and later in the evenings to accommodate everyone's schedule. TECO hopes to have all customers fully restored by Thursday or Friday.

Most service has been restored to Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach because that's where most of the business customers are, but they say they have crews working in every zone from Fort Myers to Naples.

Peoples Gas has made progress on three key steps in the restoration process, which can be time consuming.

Restoration of a gas outage of this magnitude is labor-intensive. Unlike electricity, which can be restored to thousands of customers by repairing a single power line, natural gas requires several steps to safely restore service to thousands of customers, including having restoration personnel visit each customer’s premise to safely turn on the gas and re-light pilots.

The steps involved and Peoples Gas’ progress to date includes:

First, each customer’s gas service is shut off and locked down (physically turned off and locked) by a representative of Peoples Gas as required by federal and state safety regulations.
·         In an effort to restore customers as quickly as possible, more than 200 additional support workers are working throughout the Ft. Myers and Naples area to help restore service.
·         Crews have visited more than 85 percent of the commercial and residential customers; this represents significant progress in safely restoring gas to customers’ businesses and homes, and prepares those customers for the remaining steps of the restoration sequence.
·         By the end of today, our goals is to have visited and turned off 100 percent of all customers.
Then, gas mains are re-pressurized to the appropriate level and inspected.
·         The line initially damaged was repaired Thursday, November 11, the same day the damage occurred.
·         The major supply line has been re-pressurized.
·         Lateral gas lines are being re-pressurized in areas that have been isolated.

Next, Peoples Gas crews make a second visit to each customer’s premise to ensure natural gas service is restored, pilot lights are re-lit and appliances and equipment are inspected by a company representative. Someone must be present to allow crews to enter the home or business to restore service.