Pinellas County, Florida - People in several beach area communities got a surprise when they arrived home from work on Monday. They had no power.
Progress Energy's Web site shows the power out in Madeira Beach, Bay Pines, Seminole, North Redington Beach and Indian Shores.
Progress Energy says as may as 33,000 people have been affected. A spokesman says the problem is due to an "equipment malfunction". Progress Energy spokesman C.J. Drake says he's not sure what malfunctioned but added he is investigating.
In a news release issued on Monday night, Pinellas County Utilities claimed Progress Energy lost a substation. Utility officials say the lack of power has left 17 pump stations without power, creating the threat of sewer system overflows in the field.
The utility department is bringing in 9 portable generators which will be "moved around as needed." Officials say some stations are already nearing the overflow stage.
Officials say the beaches south of Indian Rocks Beach to Treasure Island and Indian Shores, as well as southern parts of Seminole, are particularly vulnerable.
The county says customers in those areas should limit water use and in particular flushing, showering and washing clothes until power is restored and the system is back on line.
Pinellas County Utilities has crews on stand-by to respond to any incidents.
By 11 p.m. Monday night, power was slowly returning to the affected areas.
Click here to see an interactive map from Progress Energy of the areas currently affected.
Tampa Bay's 10 News