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TECO gas leak does not affect island businesses or residents

By Staff | Nov 17, 2010

On Monday, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce sent out a mass e-mail concerning the natural gas leak that occurred on Nov. 11, reporting that all Sanibel and Captiva Island properties and restaurants have been unaffected by the disruption in service.

“We got a lot of phone calls at the Visitor Center on Saturday,” said Ric Base, president of the chamber. “It was incredible that Sanibel and Captiva were not affected.”

In addition, several chamber member properties, including Residence Inn Fort Myers/Sanibel, Marriott Sanibel Harbor Resort, Country Inn & Suites – Sanibel Gateway, Lighthouse Waterfront Restaurant – Port Sanibel Marina and Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa on Fort Myers Beach are operating with full service.

Throughout the weekend, businesses, hotels and restaurants were inundated with phone calls inquiring about their status of operations. In many cases across the Southwest Florida region, eateries were operating with limited menu items available, and many hotel customers suffered without hot water.

However, everything was up and running as usual on both Sanibel and Captiva.

“People in the area seemed to have gotten the message that the islands were open for business,” added Base. “All of the restaurants I talked to told me that they had a great Saturday night.”

According to the Lee County Emergency Operations Center and a communication from TECO People’s Gas, crews and additional personnel continued making progress earlier this week in restoring gas to customers throughout the Fort Myers and Naples area. The need to restore gas in the region is a result of a heavy-equipment operator that does not work for Peoples Gas damaging an eight-inch natural gas line.

Last Thursday’s break resulted in a loss of natural gas service to more than 6,000 residential and 1,200 commercial customers in Lee and Collier counties.

While the utility has stated that restoration of natural gas service may take up to one week to complete, they are working around the clock to get everything back to normal.

“I would like to personally thank our customers in Lee County and Collier County for their patience while we work to safely restore their gas service,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Peoples Gas. “Our focus is on visiting every location to re-light the pilot lights and restore service by Thursday or Friday of this week.”

As of 7 a.m. on Monday, service had been restored to about 750 commercial customers and about 850 residential customers affected by the loss of natural gas service.

The priority order in restoring service for Peoples Gas customers is:

• Critical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other emergency service facilities

• Commercial customers, such as resorts, hotels and restaurants

• Residential customers.

Peoples Gas is committed to keeping their customers updated, so stay tuned to www.peoplesgas.com for the latest available information.