After the recent October snowstorm that caused widespread damage to the electrical grid along streets and in private property, questions arose as to who, the homeowner or the electric company, owned what and therefore was responsible for fixing it.
Everything that is part of the electric service along the street, the service wire to the house and where it attaches and the meter in Connecticut are maintained by Connecticut Light and Power Co. and United Illuminating Co. depending on each company’s service area as carved out by state regulators. Everything else related to the electric service is owned by the property owner, whether it is residential, commercial, business or government.
“Primarily we did the service wire,” CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross said Tuesday. CL&P crews and the private contractors hired by the utility to restore service would, however, do the “quick fix” of what otherwise is considered a homeowner’s property if it could get a customer back on line quickly and safely.
“If they went beyond that (the service wire and meter) it would be a quick fix,” Gross said, adding that what constituted a quick fix was a decision left to the field crews to make.
Beyond that, fixing wires that had been ripped off the side of a house or building were the responsibility of the property owner who had to hire a certified electrician to make the repairs before CL&P would reconnect the service.
Gross said property owners should check their insurance coverage to see if damage to the electrical service is covered by their property insurance. Some policies cover storm-related damage including food spoilage, but it depends on how the policy is written.
Gross said utility customers would not be charged for the “quick fix” repairs.
More extensive repairs are ultimately the property owner’s responsibility to make and pay for, Gross said.