Costly Oncor power surge frustrates Dallas woman

Print
Email
|

by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on July 5, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 6 at 11:59 PM

DALLAS — Imagine this: An Oncor power line transformer malfunctions, it surges electricity and most of your electronics, appliances and your air conditioner all get fried.

If you think your losses are covered by Oncor, you're wrong.

Gwen Fagan of Dallas found out the hard way.

As she takes us on a tour of her house we see electronics and appliances and other electrical devices that no longer work.

"My stove, my range here, and my dishwasher is gone," said Fagan. "But this is all my television does, nothing at all,"

An estimated $10,000 worth of her belongings —  including her central air conditioning unit —  was fried by a surge of electricity caused by an Oncor electric crew repairing a transformer in front of her house a few weeks ago.

"Sparks went flying, fire went flying," Fagan said. "Me and the other cable guy broke and ran."

And Fagan's house wasn't the only one that suffered a surge; her neighbors lost appliances, too.

Fagan says when she called Oncor to report the damaged goods, they told her an adjuster would be out in a matter of days.

The adjuster never came.  What did come was a letter from the utility accepting blame — but not liability.

It read:

"Dear Ms. Fagan... Oncor Electric Delivery does not guarantee against voltage fluctuations... as set forth in the Tariff for Electric Service approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. You may want to contact your insurance agent."

Oncor spokesperson Jeamy Molina echoed the corporate position. "Because of the Tariff, we aren't liable for any repairs that the equipment did cause," she said.  

Fagan calls that position "unbelievable." But now that reality has started to settle in, so have the bills —  for an electrician to repair the damage and for the central air conditioning unit.

As for insurance?  Fagan's claim was denied.

It all starts to overwhelm her  as she considers how she will replace her refrigerator and stove and washer and dryer and flat screen TVs she paid for by working two jobs.

"You know what? I just want to throw up my hands and say I just can't do this anymore," Fagan said.  "I just don't have it in me to do it any more. I'm just tired."

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|