Can I recover damages after a power surge?
January 3, 2005 1:16 PM   Subscribe

power surge damage: last night something went wacko on my neighborhood power grid, and stuff started popping and blowing up and burning (in 6-8 other houses as well). We shut off all of the breakers as quick as we could, but when we woke up this morning lots of stuff was destroyed. Will anyone pay for the damage? [MI]

It's a rental duplex. The other tenant and nearby neighbors have damage as well. I have no renters insurance (because I am a buffoon). Should the electric company pay for it? My landlord? Me? Is it even worth talking to anyone?
posted by monkeystronghold to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Find out what went wrong and who is at fault and go after them. I'd recommend a lawyer.
posted by crazy finger at 1:43 PM on January 3, 2005

posted by crazy finger at 1:59 PM on January 3, 2005

The same kind of thing happened at my apartment complex last year (On christmas, no less - we played Monopoly by candlelight). thankfully nothing in my apartment was damaged, but my neighbors across the hall had no such luck. They also didn't have renter's insurance, and were unable to get compensation for any of their damaged property, which included their microwave and computer. The property owners said the power company was to blame, and vice versa - and they were out of luck. If one or the other will acknowledge responsibility for the outage and the damages, then go after them for compensation. Also, look into renter's insurance asap. You can usually get good discounts by using the same company who insures your car, and the cost is negligible ($15 a month in many cases for coverage up to $40K in my case). Good luck!
posted by Miss Bitchy Pants at 2:12 PM on January 3, 2005

If it happened to several houses the electric company will usually cover it in a regulated market. Make a claim as soon as possible and have your neighbours make a claim even if they only lost a few light bulbs. It sounds like you had an over voltage applied to your line.
posted by Mitheral at 2:36 PM on January 3, 2005

Before you call, make sure you check everything that is plugged in. Wait a day and check again.
If it is a surge that is the fault of the utility, they will most often cover the cost of repair/replacement. When you call to file your claim, you will likely be sent some paperwork to fill outand return. Make a copy. Get the name and phone number of whomever should be contacting you, and ask about an expected time frame. Make sure you tell everyone affected to call. Email me if you have any more questions.
(Thinks to self: this is better than an outage call any day of the week.)
posted by TomSophieIvy at 6:08 PM on January 3, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the answers. As the above said, it looks like PGE here has an external company that handles insurance claims. THey say there should be a decision on my claim in 7-10 days, and enough of the neighbors have similar damages (TVs, modems, and clock radios were all very popular) that I'm hoping the claim will go through.
posted by monkeystronghold at 8:38 PM on January 3, 2005

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