Friday, October 24, 2014 Login
Quick Links:
Subject: Underground Electric Service Cable broke - who is responsible?
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
BillL7
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3


07/13/2010 2:34 PM  
I live in a 150 unit townhouse complex in Massachusetts that has 4 units in each strip. For each 4 unit strip, a single transformer provides electrical service , with each unit having a dedicated service line running from the transformer to the electric meter on the outside of each dwelling.

My service line broke, and the HOA is saying it's the owners responsibility. I have exhausted all attempts to resolve this amicably, and litigation is the unfortunate next step. I ended up paying for 50 ft of conduit to be buried in the common area and a new cable installed from the transformer to my meter. Before I start getting into the legal wording of the master deed and the such I do have a few questions:


1) If I sue the HOA and am successful, will I be able to sue to recoup legal fees? (and visa-versa)

2) Is there a precedent where owners are responsible for this or similar things? (i.e. water line breaks may be a good example)

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Bill
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2909


07/13/2010 2:48 PM  
Is it a private transformer?

Have you tried talking to the power company? They might fix it even if they are not responsible.

Did someone just get Fios fiber optic installed? Verizon is famous for trenching fiber lines and cutting underground cables that were not installed deep enough.
BillL7
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3


07/13/2010 6:14 PM  
It is a private transformer, and the electric company will not fix. Original utility service wires were buried with no conduit. That was code back in the day, now they are all rotting and breaking. Over the years, approximately 10% of the units have lost service, with a few more each year. Owners being stuck to foot the bill. Master deed says HOA responsible for maintenence. BOD's reply to me is that the C&R says something different, and since it was a governing document filed before the master deed, it takes precedence. (which is nonsense from a legalese perspective)

I will be pushing to get on next year's board and will seek a reversal at that time. I read somewhere that I have 3 years before a statute of limitations runs out for recorse on this matter.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2909


07/13/2010 6:33 PM  
BOD's reply to me is that the C&R says something different




Have you looked at the CCR's to see what they are referring to?

PS. Underground utilities in New England are a nightmare. I don't recommend it. They have a short shelf life and repairs cost 10x what utility poles cost to fix. Worst part about underground utilities? Finding the problem.
GlenL
(Ohio)

Posts:5160


07/14/2010 1:29 AM  
Bill, if your sole desire to get on the Board is so you can get your money back; then you don't belong on it. The answer lies in the CC&R's; somewhere in them it should be spelled out what is the HOA's responsibility and what is the homeowners. The person telling you that it is not the HOA's responsibility to repair the line should be able to show you in the CC&R's exactly where it says this.

"Common sense is like deodorant--the people who need it most never use it."
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2909


07/14/2010 5:30 AM  
Bill, if your sole desire to get on the Board is so you can get your money back; then you don't belong on it.


I disagree. This is a huge problem in HOA's with private transformers. Sometimes the bills can cost $100,000 and up. Without power, the property is worthless.

Even if the docs say each owner is responsible for the house to the transformer, there is huge problems with this install. Its dumb to dig it up, year after year for a single owner.

I think he should run for the board and try and figure out how to get reimbursed and fix this for everyone one time. It may need a special assessment, most private transformers do, but it needs to be fixed for everyone.
BillL7
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3


07/14/2010 8:29 AM  
Thanks for the support Steve, and without knowing the details - you share some good insight. For example - at my transformer alone - it has been dug up 3 seperate times (at 3x the cost and inconvienience) , instead of doing it right one time as a common area expense.

The BOD's position is that all 4 of the neighbors should talk about "chipping in" to split the cost of the repair. Fair enough you say? Well, my neighbor's service went out 6 months ago and property management (or the neighbor) never contacted me, claiming it was an "emergency".

Regarding my desire to get on the board: It's more than just the electricity issue. The current BOD has too much representation of owners that bought 30 years ago for $60K. Let's just say they do not see a sense of urgency in cutting costs. Our HOA dues within 5 years will be (hold on to your seat) over $1K/mo on a $400K unit. Our onsite mgr is being compensated in the $110K/yr neighborhood, and the guy is completely worthless IMHO.

Hopefully, you can see my motivation for getting on the board.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Underground Electric Service Cable broke - who is responsible?



Condo & HOA Websites by Community123.com  Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement