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ONLY ON 3: Family says Progress Energy work led to $10,000 worth of damage, bills

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Family says Progress Energy work led to $10,000 worth of damage, bills
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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- A Wrightsville Beach couple says Progress Energy owes them thousands of dollars after a project to put in new lines went wrong. The couple claims the drilling hit a water line, and they were forced to pay to have it fixed. A waterline leak and thousands of dollars later, Brooke and Jeff Richardson want Progress Energy to own up to its mistake.

It started a couple months ago when Brian West from Progress Energy contacted Brooke.

"To see about doing some underground utility work on our property to kind of improve the lines on the north end of the island," Brooke said.

She says West made it clear the lines would drastically improve getting power restored after an outage.

"I asked him if there was any damage to the lines or the house, who would be responsible. He told me Progress Energy would 100 percent back their work and take care of it."

But Richardson says that's not what happened. The same day the lines were drilled, the Richardsons discovered a major water leak under the driveway the Richardsons say caused sediment and dirt to come into the home, clogging up all of the lines in the house. To fix the leak in the waterline, the Richardsons had to pay $10,000 in damages, including a $4,500 water bill.

"We contacted Progress Energy, and they had their contractor come out with some SONAR equipment and discovered that the leak was within just a couple feet of the line that they did, but they said that they did not hit it," Richardson said.

The Richardsons believe when Progress Energy installed the lines, the vibration from the drill caused the water leak, but the only way to prove it would be to tear up the driveway, which would mean even more money out of their pockets.

"I think Progress Energy needs to honor their verbal agreement that if their was any problems with the drilling underground that they would take care of it and they're not honoring their agreement," Richardson said.

A spokesman from Progress Energy says based on the surveys done, he does not see any connection with the water leak and lines that were installed.

The Richardsons are discussing hiring an attorney to resolve the issue. We'll see what happens.

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Next time you hear "Why don't they just bury those wires?"

This is why. Underground utilities, especially higher voltage electrical lines, come with a host of their own problems. Even if there is no yard where they're originally buried, there will be one day. A lot of people think they're the first person to think: "If they'd just bury those lines, hurricanes wouldn't be a problem." Oh, but they would. High water tables cause these lines to burn up and you think you were mad about the tire tracks the bucket truck left in your front yard after Irene? Wait until they dig a crater the size of a king size bed while things are still wet. These utilities are smart organizations and they have done the cost benefit analysis many times to determine whether it's cheaper to repair a lot of overheard lines vs. not so much underground and the former is cheaper and usually much faster. The biggest fans of underground utilities are the developers who build neighborhoods and the people who buy the houses from them. After a couple of decades, the regular burn outs, huge holes, exploding pad mount transformers, etc become the problem of the power company. And yes, even up North, the power companies are still often proponents of overhead lines in spite of the ice storms.

Have to play..

the worlds smallest violin. Really rich people and low life power companies going after each other. There's something beautiful here.

They own a house in

They own a house in Wrightsville Beach they can afford to pay for the repairs themselves. Progress didn't hit the water line clear and simple. The wealthy act like everything is owed to them.

I agree. There's likely

I agree. There's likely more to this story. I don't see how a water leak outside can clog up pipes in the house. I think there was some existing problem that the homeowners decided to conveniently blame on the work that was done by Progress.

So you believe because they may have money...

...that Progress Energy shouldn't be held responsible for damage? What Socialist train did you arrive on "The Obamatrac express"? You don't have a clue as to what Progress Energy did or didn't do. As the article stated, their driveway will have to be excavated to find out. Isn't it funny how the problem occurred directly AFTER the utility work? I would bet my bottom dollar if this was YOUR circumstance and YOUR home and a bill YOU had to pay, you wouldn't be singing this canary crap.

You know, Socialist attitudes like yours are prevalent in Europe, N. Korea and Iran. You would fit in a lot better there.... People like you are killing America!

Funny how the customer

Funny how the customer "asked" Progress Energy PRIOR to any work being done if they (PE) would cover expenses....sounds to me like there was a PRIOR problem here...a water leak rushes OUT of a broken pipe which most likely would not allow that much sand into the lines. A 25,000 Radar Unit did the locating (which is very accurate) and even if the drill pipe was 6" from their waterline, all it does is drill out and pull back a pipe to put the powerlines into. If the line does fail, then a new line is placed into the pipe...no bucket trucks-aerial trucks-just a fresh powerline.
These drills do not vibrate, they rotate just like a drill bit. Go watch them work....the future for sure..
If the contractor DOES dig up the driveway, is the complaining customer going to pay THEIR BILL?????

Rich folks...

How dare people get rich in America. What a sin. Unlike the poor folks who want nothing given to them hahaha. Wake up.

Bottom line....get it in

Bottom line....get it in writing!