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Power Outages Plague Countryway Boulevard Villages

Most of Westchase celebrated the fact that their power never went out during hurricane Irma.

Residents who live in the back of Bennington, Glenfield, Woodbay and Keswick Forest neighborhoods, however, were still in the dark four days after the storm.

Because those houses were put on the same grid as Twin Branch Acres when they were built, the homes often face power outages that can be more difficult to fix. Approximately 10 years ago residents looked at the possibility of rectifying the situation by connecting to Westchase’s power grid and were told by TECO that it was very, very expensive and that residents would have to foot the bill.

After Irma’s long outage, Keswick Forest Voting Member Brian Loudermilk said that the time to find a solution is now. “I live in the back of Keswick Forest. It used to be that any time the wind blew, we lost power. We made it through the entire storm with power until 7 a.m. Monday morning.” Loudermilk added, “I love my neighborhood but at times we’ve thought about moving. TECO has said it is extremely expensive but I want to know exactly what the costs are and what are the solutions.”

Loudermilk thinks that many Westchasers were not aware of their fellow residents’ plight since the area affected is at the very back of the neighborhoods. “Most had no clue that we were going into a tunnel of darkness.”

“It was a crazy situation,” said Bennington Voting Member Jeanne Kimschot. “We had power but are the last house on the Westchase grid so our neighbors lost theirs Sunday evening around 6:30 p.m. until Thursday afternoon. We used to lose power all the time, even on normal days. It would be ideal to be on the Westchase power grid.”

Loudermilk has reached out to County Commissioner Sandy Murman and is looking for someone at TECO who can help him get the information he needs.

Government Affairs Committee Chair and Westchase Community Association Board Vice President Rick Goldstein has said he will help the neighborhoods approach TECO about switching to the Westchase power grid. “We need to organize after things settle down,” Goldstein committed.

By Marcy Sanford

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