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Will ripping your power pole down fry your electronics?

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 Jin E

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Posted April 06 2004 - 08:53 AM

Rooms to Go was delivering some furniture to my brother's house when they somehow knocked the power out to his house (ripped the incoming service line out). After getting the electric company out there to restore power my brother finds that every piece of electronics in his house is now fried (Sony XBR, Computers, Xboxes, microwaves, clocks, H&K receivers, dvd player, etc). My brother has been arguing back and forth with rooms to go for the past couple of weeks. RtG's current position is they cannot be sure that the electronics was not fried when the power was cut back on instead of when it was pulled from the side of their house by their truck, so the power company *may* be "liable" instead of them and they cannot pay out a claim as long as someone else *may* be liable. My brother's position is that it doesn't matter when the electronics was damaged, either when power was removed or restored because it would not have had to been restored if RtG did not rip the power from his house.

I'm a ME so I do not have an extensive electrical background. My gut reaction is that you have electrical service restored to thousands of houses a year by the electric company and I for one have never heard of anyone getting every piece of equipment fried in their house by getting electrical service installed. Not knowing how my bro's house is wired, I'm guessing the neutral and ground is not split in his house, and when the power line was pulled from the side of the house he probably shorted between one or both of the incoming hot wires onto his neutral and backfed into his house and killed everything. This is not a theory based upon sound engineering principal but it does sound plausable to non-techies. So, the question:

What would cause all of his electronics to get fried in this manor? Is there anything that could have happened when power was restored to fry his stuff? What about when the power line was ripped from the side of his house, is my theory plausible? What do you think cause his electronics to be fried? I know there's not a lot of detailed info on this story, but if you have any theories or ideas about what happened I'd love to hear them.
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#2 of 8 Kirk Gunn

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Posted April 06 2004 - 11:13 AM

I'm not sure either, but has he called his insurance company ? Let their lawyers go after RtG. RtG will be more than happy to fight your brother, but probably not his insurance company.

#3 of 8 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 06 2004 - 12:06 PM

Most power feeds are 240/120 volts off a center-tapped transformer. Perhaps one of the outer legs hit neutral, so there would be 240 volts across the alternate circuit.
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#4 of 8 Seth--L



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Posted April 06 2004 - 12:20 PM

Your brother's lawyer should contact Rooms to Go. When they see that he's serious about taking them to court, they might agree then to just write a check for the damages.
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#5 of 8 Mark Shannon

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Posted April 06 2004 - 01:54 PM

Something similar (though not really related) happened to me about 11 years ago. Lightening struck my neighbour's backyard two doors down from me. Fried everything electronic in their house, and a couple of ours. Sorry, just thought it was interesting.

#6 of 8 Craig Robertson

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Posted April 06 2004 - 02:16 PM

my in-laws had several things get fried in their house when a car accident up the street took out a power pole. the at-fault drivers insurance co picked up the tab for the new equipment.
perhaps a mention that you'll be looking for court costs too if you need to go to court might get things going.

#7 of 8 Glenn Overholt

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Posted April 06 2004 - 07:45 PM

Good advise above. I have never heard of any equipment anywhere getting fried when the power comes back on after a blackout - and you know that the electric company isn't going to 'accidently' cross the wires when they are being reconnected.

Have him contact his insurance and/or an attorney. They're just trying to 'beat the rap' as the saying goes.


#8 of 8 Philip_G



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Posted April 06 2004 - 08:48 PM

agreed with the lawyer, even if it's just to write them a letter.