PPL strikes again

I don’t know if the local electric company is incompetent, negligent, or just abusive.

As I’ve mentioned before, the farm has a “center pole” where the meter is located, which is perfect — it’s far enough away that it doesn’t detract from the mansion, and close enough to be easily trenched. When we told PPL we needed to upgrade the electric, though, they told us we needed to put the meter on the mansion. Then they showed up with a 4-foot by 3-foot meter panel! After much discussion (during which we learned they don’t even read the meters anymore), they agreed to put the meter panel on the back of the privy, so at least it was out of sight. Then PPL decided to install another pole, with a transformer, right in the back yard! Again after much discussion — and $1,100 — they agreed to put the transformer in the ground, but we had to dig a 39″ trench for it.

Dawn had the “one call” people (which turned out to be a PPL employee) come out to mark the electric lines, and she hired an excavator to dig the trench, which was exactly 39″ deep. Last Thursday a PPL rep came by, unannounced, to drop off some equipment, and she told us the trench was too deep, and they would be back in two weeks.

The excavator was getting ready to go on vacation, but Dawn wanted to take care of this right away, so she got him to come over early Friday morning to backfill the trench. It was so early that Dawn wasn’t even awake. Then PPL showed up, two weeks early, to install the transformer.

According to them — although no one had mentioned it before — Dawn was supposed to have hand-dug another hole nearby. Since the excavator was there and Dawn was not, the PPL guys asked him to dig it with the back-hoe. The excavator is a nice guy so he agreed to this favor. Besides, it was 30″ from the orange line, so there was no danger in hitting the electrical main.

Needless to say, they hit the electrical main. Fortunately they just nicked the cable, they didn’t actually cut through it, and all that needed to happen was to wrap it with some electric tape. But PPL had at least six supervisors over to look at it, and then announced, “It’s not our fault.”

They also brought the “one call” person who had marked the electric main and he, too, said it wasn’t his fault, because the dig was 12 days after his visit, and they only “guarantee” it for 10. That’s right, even though his line was clearly visible, and the electric main hasn’t moved in 30+ years, he wasn’t responsible for his line being 30″ off because we were 2 days late.

On the following Tuesday, Dawn caught another PPL rep sneaking onto the property — even though the main was already wrapped and back under three feet of dirt — and she asked what the status was. He announced, with an air that clearly indicated we should be grateful, that PPL was not going to charge us for the damage done to the electric main.