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Pigeons ARE evil (but mostly it's just the electric company)

If you have ever read That's Church, you know that Ginny over there hates pigeons. Hate is not a strong enough word, actually. Me? I never had much of an opinion either way regarding those birds. Until today.

According to several people, one of whom works for Duquesne Light, this morning a pigeon ran into an electrical wire in my neighborhood and caused a power surge (which also caused said pigeon's wings to go up in flames), our second in just over eight months. (By second, I am referring to second power surge, not second occurrence of burning pigeon wings.)

According to a recording, Duquesne Light first said there was an equipment malfunction. Just before the power came back on about 2.5 hours later, the reason changed to an animal. Regardless, we lost a computer, two cable (FiOS) boxes, a TV, a radio/CD/cassette player (hey, I still play cassettes sometimes), and about eight light bulbs. I am hoping since our AC works, the furnace will too (that was our big loss last time), but no idea. Others in the neighborhood are now without TVs, dishwashers, alarm systems, microwaves, and more.

I filed an automated claim and later talked to the claims adjuster who informed me that Duquesne cannot be held responsible for a power surge caused by an animal (again, supposedly a pigeon). I told this woman that this was the second surge in just over eight months and Duquesne must have sub-par equipment if a bird can cause this much damage. She did not seem to agree, but said they would do their investigation. After having talked to her, I am pretty sure I know how that is going to turn out.

Later I called Duquesne back and talked to a supervisor to express my utter disgust. He said pretty much what she said, that Duquesne can't help if a car runs into a pole (what happened last Christmas) or if an animal damages a wire. I said I understood that, but to be perfectly frank, I felt that their equipment must be faulty if these power surges keep happening. Last time almost 30 of us were out tens of thousands of dollars, and now we were going through this all over again, and that is just not acceptable. I said I would wait for the investigation results before I gathered the neighbors to talk to a lawyer as well as call WTAE so they can take action for us. He did not seem fazed, but pretty much kept defending the company, saying that the lines (some meters) have taken many surges that we did not even know about. Still, I say, what does it say about your equipment when an evil little bird can cause that much damage?!

So we are, once again, out hundreds of dollars. A new TV will cost over $300 (why should I buy a TV smaller than the one that died). We are hopeful if we replace our damaged power source for the computer, that will take care of it. If not, I am guessing we will be spending over $500 (I really have no idea what a new computer costs, but I bet I am low-balling it). But even with that expense, I am not sure we can justify turning it into our insurance when we won't get full replacement value and we have to pay a $500 deductible.

As Ginny from That's Church said, at least the pigeon died...


Anonymous said…
Holy smokes Facie that sux. Lets hope the third time is not the charm. Pigeons may or may not be evil. But you def nailed the electric company. I foresee pitchforks in your future.
Mel said…
hFIGHT the bastids.

also, be prepared to find out all sorts of things you wish you'd never known about the electric company, insurance company, laws and coverage. and yes, call in the news or lawyers or whatever ("Send lawyers, guns, and money"--can you name that tune???)

however, having tried to stand against unfair practices, and having attended meetings, organized neighbors, and generally raised he** about a stupid and unfair situation, what really brought about solution and happier ending was prayer. maybe you could learn from my painful experience, where I tried to fight the big guys and was stymied repeatedly. when I accepted it and just prayed, the whole thing went away. of course, that going-away chain of events began on the very day we were moving out of the neighborhood... alas.

well, I hope you can get some money for damages. that stinks a whole lot. truly.

p.s. when we moved here, we needed a little TV, and I found a 7-inch one at a yard sale for $5. four years later? still works like a charm. just sayin'...
chris h. said…
Oh my gosh. I never had anything like that happen and it's just awful. All that money! All those things! At least when our power has gone out it hasn't caused any damage. I feel for you--hope you get some satisfaction.
Anonymous said…
That's why you have power strips on important electrical equipment.
Facie said…
Thanks for the comments. I am waiting for the results letter (even though I am 99 percent sure I know what will happen) and then I will post an update.

And Anonymous 2, we did have power strips on both the computer and the TV that died. (We also had powerstrips on the other TV and computer that did not die.) Someone told me that the powerstrips have insurance, so I should probably look into that (though I don't have the receipts).

Interestingly enough, I have an old laptop that was not on a powerstrip and it was fine. Wish I understood how it all worked. At this point, we are really torn about getting a whole-house surge protection b/c each time we have (or will) spent about the cost of one of those things, which is good for one time only. Sigh.

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