Here is a close-to-home testimonial that attests to the unexpected nature of a utility service interruption:
An HSB colleague found a comfortable office set up in her living room. While preparing for a company virtual meeting, she looked out the window and noticed a tractor-trailer making an unusual U-turn in the T-intersection in front of her house. Moments later, the electricity went off in the house and she could see her overhead power lines flopping off the back of the trailer and hitting the roadway. The driver must not have known he snagged the lines as he continued to drive away. Luckily, and because of this strategic office setup, she was able to see the trucking company information through the windows.
The police and utility workers arrived to protect the area and assess the damages. The police redirected traffic around the downed power lines. The utility company said they would replace her overhead wires from the power pole to her house but she would need to hire an electrician to repair the connections and broken cables that were pulled from her house. Power was off for about three hours and the electrician’s bill was close to $1200.
This testimonial represents the unexpected nature of service line disruptions. In this case, it was a truck hitting overhead electrical lines and causing a power outage and $1200 of unexpected costs. Thankfully, the truck company was responsible for the bill.
For others, it might be roots from a tree that grows into the sewer pipe and cause a sewer blockage, or the main water line ruptures due to corrosion deep in the ground. Even underground electric wires can be hit by the gardener planting a tree in the front yard. Overhead electric lines are usually repaired and paid for by the utility company while underground electric utility lines are the responsibility of the homeowner. Many of these types of service line repairs can cost from $5,000 to $10,000 and can involve several subcontractors to complete. These often underappreciated services are vital to normal living, especially for households that have multiple adults working from home and children e-learning.
Homeowners without proper coverage find they’re responsible for all repair costs including excavation, landscaping, sidewalk repairs, electrical repairs, and plumbing repairs. A single utility service repair or replacement can cost thousands of dollars.
The good news is that with proper foresight and planning, the risks from service line disruptions can be mitigated through readily available and low-cost insurance products. Having a service lines coverage plan in place now can help relieve the stress and financial burden that accompanies an unexpected service line interruption in the future.
Written by John Weber, Principal Electrical Engineer for HSB.
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