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Apopka Duke Energy customers say they are weary of years of constant power outages

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APOPKA, Fla. - Residents in an Apopka neighborhood called Channel 9 asking for help after they said they have problems keeping the power on in their homes.
 
Nearly 500 homes on Lynah Avenue near State Road 417 and Marden Road are affected. Some said they have had problems with their electrical utility.
 
According to residents, despite several attempts to get answers from Duke Energy they still do not know why the power continues to go out in Emerson Park.
 
"We moved in on Oct. 31, 2008, and we had a power outage the day we moved in," said resident Kristi Bennett.
 
Bennett is just one of the residents that live in Emerson Park who is frustrated after dealing with consistent power outages for past six years. Bennett said they have a power outage at least once a week.
 
"In the last month, I have had it go off five times," said resident Rick Wade.
 
The residents called Channel 9 after seeing Roy Ramos report on a similar problem residents reported in Osceola County. In that instance, Ramos learned the problem stemmed from cars that hit power pole improperly grounded transmission lines. 
 
Apopka residents said their outages affected their electronics, businesses, and in some cases even their health
 
"When the power goes off at night, because this is sealed my nostrils, I feel like I am suffocating.
 
Residents said officials with Duke Energy have offered no reasonable explanation.
 
"They say either no one else is having the problem or it is designed to do that," said Emerson.
 
Ramos talked with Duke Energy officials who said the problem was caused by tree limbs that hit power lines and forced their system to reset.
 
When he asked what they were doing to rectify the problem he received a statement from Duke Energy Florida spokesman Sterling Ivey that said, "We have escalated our tree trimming activities on the 17.6 miles of power lines in the Emerson Point area and expect all trimming to be complete before the end of July. We expect once all the trimming is done the intermittent outages will be greatly reduced." 
 
"Please let me have power on a regular basis. I do pay my bill on time," said Bennett.
 
Duke Energy officials also told Ramos that they are also upgrading equipment in the area, which is expected to grow in population in the next few years.