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Electrical Problems at Home? Call Utility First!

11:26 AM, Jan 7, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you're having electrical problems in your home, before you call an electrician call your utility.

Thanksgiving week Glenda Bennett learned this the hard way.

"Wednesday night I came home from my mom's house and on this whole side of the house the power was out," she said.

The electricity was off on one side, then it was on again, so she called an electrician.

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"The electrician comes out and checks the breaker box. He said, 'when I tested the legs coming into the house, you've got 120 on one side and 40 on the other side, it is a good thing you called that's why your stove and microwave (are) not working'," said Bennett. 

But the problem was not in the house. The problem was in fact on the JEA pole, a transformer.

"The wires were melted to the pole," said Bennett.

JEA corrected the problem and Bennett filed a claim with the city and the JEA for the money she paid to the electrician. It was denied. 

"They denied it because I called the electrician," she said.

"I'm not happy because when I first called to put the claim in they said fax us the bill for the electrician," said Bennett.

JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce said even though the connections on the transformer failed, there was no negligence.

"Remember, when it comes to filing a claim against the JEA you have to be able to show negligence," said Boyce.

"In this situation there wasn't," she said. "This is a great opportunity to let our customers know when there's a problem with your electric, if the lights are flickering, if you see a problem with the voltage, call JEA first. Let us go out there and check it out; we'll be able to tell you if it is on our side or on your side, and if you need to hire an electrician," she added.

Boyce said the failure was due to normal wear and tear.

For now Bennett is stuck with the electrical bill and damage to her appliances. She was told to file a claim with her homeowner's insurance company, but she has to meet the $2,000 deductible.         

First Coast News

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