Power surge problems

Seven On Your Side
July 24, 2009 8:39:47 PM PDT
It was a sudden surge of electricity that blew out dozens of appliances on a street in Staten Island. Many of them caught fire. Now after months of promising to pay for the repairs, ConEd has denied the claim of the homeowners. But the homeowners do have recourse. It's a lesson every homeowner should know. It was a sudden surge of electricity that blew out dozens of appliances on a street in Staten Island. Many of them caught fire. Now after months of promising to pay for the repairs, ConEd has denied the claim of the homeowners. But the homeowners do have recourse. It's a lesson every homeowner should know.

Tony Modica still has the burned out remnants of a power surge from last April. A clock radio, phone charges, a thermostat, and a transformer from his clothes washer. The Staten Island firefighter wa son duty when the call of an electrical fire came in. "So when I heard that it was my address, I though, you know, the worst."

Luckily, everyone survived. But an electrical surge from a transformer on Tony's street burned up appliances in several houses. He says he's out $3,000.

After the shock of the fire subsided, these residents were worried about who would pay for all the damages. A ConEd supervisor reassured them. "(ConEd workmen said) Just get the bill and Con Ed will pay the bill."

But when they submitted the claim, ConEd denied it. The reason? ConEd would not take responsibility for a defective supply of service. "(It's) horrible, horrible," said the frustrated homeowner.

None of the homeowners we interviewed had a clue they had coverage for losses associated with a power surge already on their homeowner's insurance policy. In fact, almost every homeowner's insurance policy covers this kind of damage.

"Some companies will just pay for that, others are going to have limits. So you do want to find out ahead of time what you're covered for and what you're not," says Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.

And after we clued these homeowners in, each filed a claim to their insurance companies and are waiting for replies. But, they're still angry at ConEd who, they say, gave them empty promises.

A ConEd spokesperson apologized for the miscommunication with their customers. It's worth noting, if the insurance companies find that ConEd was responsible, they can attempt to recover the claim from them and if they do, the homeowners could get their deductibles back.

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Story by: Tappy Phillips


Produced by: Steve Livingstone

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips


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