Blinks, surges, lightning strikes and outages: Who’s responsible?

Fallen power lines. Source: Safe Electricity

Unpredictable events, such as large storms and lightning strikes, are neither the customer nor the power district’s fault for home electronic damages.

Unexpectedly replacing electronics can be a major blow to a household’s budget. If the device stopped working as a result of an electrical problem, many customers contact their power provider in hopes that they’ll pay. In most cases, neither the customer nor the power district is at fault.

“There are many circumstances involving a power outage, blink or surge that are beyond the power district’s control, such as lightning or an animal in a power line,” said Customer Service Manager Marsha Banzhaf. “It is unfortunate, but it does happen.”

Storms may topple power poles and bring lines crashing to the ground, causing blinks or outages, or a driver may crash into a pole and bring outages to an area. These situations, among others, are considered unpredictable by Dawson PPD because negligence or intent to harm property is not a factor.

Lightning damage to home electronics. Source: Safe Electricity

Damage from lightning is inspected.

Dawson PPD does carry insurance to cover damage claims. The District conducts a thorough investigation and requires proof of negligence. When a customer reports electrical damage to Dawson PPD, it is helpful if the customer can provide as many details as possible.

If the investigation proves that Dawson PPD was at fault, the customer is asked to provide proof of the appliances or electronics that were damaged. Pictures and information on the brand and model number, or providing the actual damaged equipment is helpful.

In addition, customers are asked to provide proof of the replacement item such as a receipt. Only the cost of a similar replacement item will be eligible for reimbursement. For example, if a 32” television is damaged, Dawson PPD will not pay for the cost of replacing it with a 47” television.

By being proactive, customers can save themselves time and money in the long run. Customers should be familiar with their homeowners’ or rental insurance policy and to consider installing surge suppression protection. These devices are available at most electronics retailers, home improvement stores or discount stores.

Another proactive approach is for customers to allow Dawson PPD tree maintenance crews to trim trees growing close to power lines on their property. Wind can move tree limbs into power lines, causing blinks. Storms may cause branches to fall on power lines, resulting in outages.

 

June 2017

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