Who's at fault....Electrical Fire

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Latest post 04-26-2006 1:14 AM by dMr1214. 3 replies.
  • 04-25-2006 4:39 AM

    Question [=?] Who's at fault....Electrical Fire

    This case I believe could fit into several different categories but I'm not sure which one. My friend was working in her yard a few weeks ago and was experiencing unusual electrical shortage with the equipment being used outside. Upon walking inside she had discovered that the lights were flickering, the tv had blown, and the water pump for the well was not working. Her fiance phoned their electrician who walked them through specific steps to help them identify the problem. From the answers given by them to the electrician, he determined that it was a problem with the travel of electricity from outside into the home. He advised them to switch the power off by the main breaker box inside their home and immediately call their electic company. After phoning the electric company, a "troubleman" was sent out to evaluate the problem. He then called out an emergency crew since the problem seemed to be coming outside. After some digging, the emergency crew found that the electrical problem was caused by faulty wiring and connectors underground. The wires began to overheat causing the wires to "sweat." The insulation around the wiring then failed causing a leak into the wiring which in turn caused an underground electrical fire. They also said that the problem was not uncommon with the connectors that were used. The electric company is now denying her claim for the cost to repair all damages incurred. They are claiming that the incident was caused by an "act of god," that the wire failed due to normal wear and tear, and that they are not responsible for any of the damages to her home and possessions. After doing a little research on the topic of electrical fires due to faulty wiring, I found that there were some investigations on the use of aluminum wiring in the 70s. I was wondering if there were any regulations on the type of wiring the electrical company can use? Also, it seems to be obvious to me that the electric company is not only responsible for the maintenance of such wiring outside the home, but is also responsible for any damages that occur due to lack of maintenance, however, what is defined as an "act of god" by law and would this incident be considered one? And lastly, is this a matter to be handled legally if there is no reponse to a formal dispute made directly to the company?
  • 04-25-2006 9:41 AM In reply to

    • Puck
      Consumer
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-27-2001
    • GA
    • Posts 617

    Feedback [*=*] re: Who's at fault....Electrical Fire

    Frankly, her best bet is to deal with her own insurance company. They'll pay her according to her policy, then they'll sic their bulldog lawyers on the electric company. Then everyone's happy -- except the electric company.
  • 04-25-2006 4:22 PM In reply to

    re: Who's at fault....Electrical Fire

    The electrical company "may" be liable depending on exactly where the fault occurred. Just because it's outside, or even upstream of the main breaker, doesn't necessarily mean that the wires that failed weren't hers, rather than the utilities. There's also issues of who installed them, etc etc, etc.

    As Puck said - just claim against their own homeowners insurance. They are a lot better equipped to go up against the utility than an individual homeowner is.

    In addition, if she DOESN'T claim with her insurance, and then loses a case against the utility, she could find that the insurance then denies her claim because she didn't file it in a timely manner.

    Richard
  • 04-26-2006 1:14 AM In reply to

    Ok [+0+] re: Who's at fault....Electrical Fire

    thanks guys!
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