No reimbursement for Wyoming Co. power surge

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 06:32:34-05

Many Wyoming County residents near Attica, Orangeville, and Wethersfield are still dealing with the damage caused by a massive power surge that flowed into their homes just before New Year's Day.

"Pops and flashes of lightning throughout the hallway," said Linda Makson from Orangeville.

"All of a sudden, the Christmas lights got real bright and then everything went dark," added Christine Nevinger, a mother of six young children, who is now forced to cook on a portable griddle after the surge ruined her stove.

"You just saw this huge burst of fire coming from the wall," explained Jenna Wojdam from Attica.

Electrician Mark Curtis, owner of Good News Electric, tells 7 Eyewitness News that his company has been extremely busy after the surge.

"I've been at this for 35 years and this is the closest I've seen to a man-made lightning strike," commented Curtis.

According to National Grid, the surge resulted after wind and ice caused a falling tree to bring down a 34,000 volt line that fell onto other lines in the Orangeville area. It knocked out power to nearly 1,200 people and forced the company to replace 170 electric meters on various residences.

"This sort of event does not happen very often," said Steve Brady, spokesperson for National Grid.

Many residents filed claims with National Grid hoping for reimbursement, however, the company says it was caused by an act of nature and the claims will not be paid.

"It is a long-standing policy that we don't honor claims for damage on the customer side of the meter," said Brady.

Homeowners insurance should cover the damage minus deductibles, but some residents say they will be paying out $1,000 to meet the deductible for the surge damage.

Electricians recommend installing surge protectors on all electronics and homeowners should consider installing "whole-house" surge protectors.

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