Fighting with the power company

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Carl Miller, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    I went on a 5 day vacation last week, and came home to find a post cemented into my front lawn. It's a steel post
    about 8 feet high, with steel cable running from it, over the sidewalk and up to the telephone poll in front of my house. Surrounding the post in my lawn, is a one foot in diameter cement base...And it's all sitting square in the center of my property, about 2 feet in from the sidewalk.

    This telephone poll has been leaning for 30 years according to the long time residents on the block, and it's pretty obvious this thing was put there to support the post...But there are a bunch of things bugging me about this:

    When they put the post in, they broke my underground sprinkler system. They also cracked two, 2'x2' sections of my walk..the same two sections I was ordered by the county to redo last year. They did this without notifying me. My deed has no encroachments, which according to a friend means it wasn't legal for the power company to do this. A real estate appraiser relative of my wifes said this will have an impact on the value of my property. And, I've spent the past week, 15 phone calls in all, trying to speak to someone at the power company only to get the run around and promises of call backs which never came.

    I'm pissed off at the whole thing. I want my sprinkler system and sidewalk repaired, and I want them to pay for it. More importantly, if this post is going to decrease the value of my property, then I either want the post removed, or I want compensation.

    There's no reason why the power company's reluctance to spend the money necessary to replace this pole should cost me money in terms of my property value. I pay my electric bill every month, the maintenance of their utility poles is their problem, not mine.

    Short of seeking a lawyer, which I'll do if I must, does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this?
     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    sounds to me like you'll need a lawyer to at elast write a threatening letter. IANAL, but they probably have an easment to put that post there, in which case you can't do a damn thing about it.
     
  3. NickT

    NickT Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, there is the right of way for utilities, but even they have to look for underground objects when digging, at least here they do. If they didn't even give you notice and dug and broke your spinkler system, then you have groundsto complain and if necessary, sue them. It may not be what you want to do, but opnce you sue them in court, they will becme more responsive. The fact that they get legal papers should get them to do something.
     
  4. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Get written estimates on the repairs and send them copies of the bills. I'd also find out EXACTLY how much your property value has decreased, and charge them for that too.

    It sucks that the electric companies are always monopolies.

    Glenn
     
  5. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    But they are REGULATED monopolies at both Federal and State levels. Don't deal directly with the power company, deal with the government agency that oversees them. Power Company customer service reps are pretty immune to complaints since they hear them all day long.... Also don't be surprised if there is some implied "right of way/easement" surrounding the base of every pole where the power company can do things like this to ensure the pole's integrity. I would think you could get them to at least pay for the sprinkler/sidewalk repair, but probably not compensate you for potential property value loss.

    Call the general number for your State Government to see if you can find the applicable agency responsible for oversight. Also try googling newspaper articles since the state agency may be mentioned in some of the stories, especially after storms that resulted in long power outages (and high customer complaints).

    I wouldn't recommend a lawyer yet...unless you know one that specializes in these issues and is very good. Power companies typically have extremely strong legal departments since they deal with these issues frequently.

    Good luck
     
  6. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    Another route you might try is if one of your local newscasts has a "troubleshooter" portion where one of the anchors trys to get a problem resolved after one of the locals has had no luck, most big companies (utilities included) do not like the negative publicity involved with these reports and will fix stuff almost immediately after such an airing so that the reporter can report a resolution to the problem
     
  7. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it!

    I'm trying to resolve this without a lawyer but it may go that way if I can't settle this on my own.

    We do have an independent appriaser coming on Monday, and we'll see if this is going to have an effect on the value of our property. If it does, we'll have something in writing to support our case.

    In the meantime, I'm having my sprinkler system repaired next Tuesday and still have to get someone in to do the sidewalk.

    The easement thing is interesting and unclear. I'm told that our deed specifying no encroachments on our property applies to utilities, but I don't know if that's true or not.

    For now, we're going to wait for our promised call back from the director of customer service and see what happens. She asked we give her a couple of days to look into the situation...but only after I threatened to contact a lawyer. She got much more interested in what I had to say once I mentioned a lawyer.
     
  8. Carl Miller

    Carl Miller Screenwriter

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    Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it!

    I'm trying to resolve this without a lawyer but it may go that way if I can't settle this on my own.

    We do have an independent appriaser coming on Monday, and we'll see if this is going to have an effect on the value of our property. If it does, we'll have something in writing to support our case.

    In the meantime, I'm having my sprinkler system repaired next Tuesday and still have to get someone in to do the sidewalk.

    The easement thing is interesting and unclear. I'm told that our deed specifying no encroachments on our property applies to utilities, but I don't know if that's true or not.

    For now, we're going to wait for our promised call back from the director of customer service and see what happens. She asked we give her a couple of days to look into the situation...but only after I threatened to contact a lawyer. She got much more interested in what I had to say once I mentioned a lawyer.
     
  9. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Trust me, it will get ugly, contact a lawyer first thing tomorrow. ANY lawyer will be 100 times better than no lawyer.
     
  10. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Trust me, it will get ugly, contact a lawyer first thing tomorrow. ANY lawyer will be 100 times better than no lawyer.
     
  11. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    That's interesting. Where I work as soon as you say the L word I no longer deal with you, you have to take it straight to the legal department.
     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    That's interesting. Where I work as soon as you say the L word I no longer deal with you, you have to take it straight to the legal department.
     

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