Service that works needed
As Southwest Florida recovers from Irma’s brutality, we’ve seen many wonderful examples of the companies that serve our area going above and beyond to get things back to normal.
My family is particularly thankful to the linemen of Lee County Electric Cooperative for their tireless effort to restore power to Marco Island residents. We’re also grateful to the local Publix stores that reopened so soon after the storm, giving us access to necessities and luxuries we usually take for granted: drinkable water, ice, air conditioning.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Comcast.
When our electricity was restored on Sept. 15, we were thrilled to find our Comcast Xfinity cable and internet up and running. Both functioned until Sept. 21, when most of our service stopped due to a “service interruption.” I communicated with Comcast’s customer service via multiple channels; the representatives couldn’t tell me anything beyond an estimated date of restoration, which Comcast kept changing.
Service came back on Sept. 27, but the next day most of it was down again. Now we’re told we have an outage, not a service interruption. Again, we’re given repair dates that keep changing. Why did this start more than a week after the storm? Why is it still ongoing two weeks later? Is Comcast’s infrastructure that fragile?
As someone who works from home, I lose substantial income when internet service is unreliable; a partial credit from Comcast won’t make up for that. Comcast made a big deal about opening their Xfinity hotspots to all during Irma and offering credits for storm-related service issues, but what its customers need now is service that works.
Jill Baguchinsky, Marco Island
Improve power grid
Looking back on Hurricane Irma, it’s clear structures complying with the rigorous Florida building codes provide good shelters. However, our power grid is not as robust as the housing and needs to be improved to narrow the gap.
If Florida Power & Light Co. doesn’t accept the challenge, then backup generators are an effective way to make critical functions less vulnerable. Just look at Publix stores. Their generators enabled them to quickly resume business after the storm.
Perhaps the owners of backup generators could sell power back into the grid when their units are exercised each week and offset some of the investment costs.
FPL and Collier County need to design infrastructure that is more robust and requires less work to restore power after a major storm.
Ken Bennett, Naples
'Life Without Limits'
CP Seguin of Greater Chicago is pleased to announce that Frank Catalano, Jr. of Marco Island, has accepted the position of co-chair of the agency’s “Life Without Limits” capital campaign.
Catalano will play a major role in UCP Seguin’s efforts to raise $1.6 million for three major components of the capital campaign: establish a new UCP Seguin center to provide community-inclusive employment and life skills training services within DuPage County; establish an innovative, technologically advanced residential home for four individuals within DuPage County known as an IHome; and complete needed rehabilitation to current UCP Seguin residential homes and centers providing safe, accessible and functional sites.
Catalano serves as president of Catalano & Associates real estate firm. Catalano’s company represents three generations of real estate brokers specializing in real estate sales, leasing, management, construction and finance. Frank joined the UCP Seguin Board in 2015, and has played a significant role in identifying and assisting in acquisition of additional UCP Seguin program sites.
UCP Seguin is a multifaceted nonprofit agency offering an array of services to children and adults with disabilities across the Greater Chicago area. As one of 14 members of the UCP Seguin Board, Catalano provides significant input into the organization’s policies, programs, strategic direction, and finances, with a particular focus on human resources, board governance and property management.
Kelley Currier, UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago
Tips to avoid repair scams
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, people are scrambling to rebuild their lives and homes. Unfortunately, bad actors can take advantage of honest folks during these moments of stress, when everyone is eager to get their lives back in order. There are resources available that can help homeowners avoid being taken advantage of during this challenging time.
First and foremost, homeowners should check the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board’s website, www.myfloridalicense.com, to verify that a contractor’s license is real and up-to-date before hiring any company to do work on your home. When looking for a Florida licensed contractor, visit the Disaster Contractors Network, www.dcnonline.org, for a contractor in your area.
For those not quite ready to make repairs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov
and can help people find emergency housing at www.femaevachotels.com. Homeowners can also take advantage of a public-private partnership known as HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy to finance hurricane-resilient improvements and repairs with no upfront cost, allowing them to rebuild the right way and protect against future storms. HERO vets contractors and tracks their customer satisfaction records.
Finally, homeowners should not hesitate to report bad actors to the consumer price-gouging hotline at 1-866-966-7226. Honest players in the construction industry are here to help and will be happy to settle any concerns or disputes through appropriate channels.
Lisa Pate, Winter Park Executive director, Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors Association