Miss Utility screwed up...

Putting an addition on our house in Virginia and we had miss utility come out and mark. They did and all was fine. Then we hit the power line running to our house which had not been marked.
The repair people said that they would take care of the relocation costs and it's better for us that they missed it because they would have to pay for it. Now I get a call this morning from Dominion Virginia power suggesting that "since we would have had to move the line anyway" they are going to be sending us a bill.
Anyone know of the legal issues involved here or any policies regarding miss utility screwups?
It's like $5k to move and rebury the line...
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Just a thought, but in my area, they only mark the portion of the lines, pipes, whatever owned by the utility. They don't mark your private lines. don't know if that's your case, but that's how it is here..
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I suspect that is common. Utility line marking responsibility ends at the meter, regulator, NID, etc.
Private lines include a phone drop "behind" the NID but running to a detached outbuilding, the line running from the house to a propane/fuel tank, power lines to a shed, etc.
Some locators (the technician actually spraying the paint) may, if asked nicely, locate PRIVATE lines, but strictly as a courtesy and definitely OFF the record.
--
:)
JR

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Here in Fl. the utility location folks mark ALL feeds from the pole to the house interface. You have 1 month to do the job with their guarantee that if you hit something, you are covered. They pay. After one month, the deal is off. You pay.
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wrote:

do the lines move after 1 month or something?
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In our case they didn't even mark the lines that run to the house. Clearly those lines are owned by the utility company.
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No, but the marking paint probably washes away and they would have no proof that they marked where you dug. Same 30 day limit on their marking in Winnebago Co, Illinois, also.
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Unless the ground is too hard or is frozen, FLAGS should be placed along the route as well as paint marks. If the marks have faded, the digger should call for ANOTHER locate.
--
:)
JR

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wrote:

Hehehehe! Perhaps in California after a 6.5 quake. HA! :)
Seriously, all locate tickets have an expiration date. In Nebraska, a locate ticket is good for 7 days.
Damage to buried infrastructure is an increasingly worrisome problem. I believe we won't see any more airliners flown into buildings but we will likely eventually see a terrorist operating a backhoe. <sigh>
I once billed a young, moonlighting electrician for cutting a buried a phone drop. The poor kid let the locate ticket expire. The fact that the locating company screwed-up was a non-issue: The locate marks weren't even CLOSE. (They were on the OTHER side of the house!) The ticket expired, the digger paid. <sigh>
--
:)
JR

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On 03/11/06 12:10 pm Jim Redelfs wrote:

So if I have all the utility lines marked so that I can figure out where I want to build an extension, but I can't get work started within the seven (or however many) days, they'll come and mark everything again just before work starts? No extra charges for having to mark the same property more than once in some specified period?
Perce
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Yes. The utility PREFERS it.

Correct. It's a lot less expensive to do another locate than it is to repair a cut line.
--
:)
JR

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Since it is being relocated you may have to pay.

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You might want to talk to a lawyer. One could contend that when considering the addition, you called Miss Utility. Had they marked the wire correctly, and notified you of a 5k expenditure to move the line, you may have decided not to build the addition. So their neglect is costing you 5k.
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There goes the CO$T of the project.

I respectfully disagree. The cost of moving the line, indeed that the line needed to be moved AT ALL, should have been determined before ANY dirt was moved.
The original fault lies with the general contractor. Whether he "eats" the added cost is probably negotiable.
Another fact: The DIGGER is responsible for calling for locates - NOT the homeowner. Many diggers will attempt (some successfully) to hand-off the responsibility for calling for locates to the homeowner.
I have never understood that. As a digger, my safety is MY responsibility. I would NEVER hand-off MY safety to someone else. I would want to be as confident as possible that all locates have been done.
--
:)
JR

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Jim Redelfs wrote:

You can't let yourself be pushed around. Companies know how much lawyers cost and likely try to get away with this because of it. Perhaps he can skip the lawyer and take them to small claims court. Even if he does not get 5k it will cost the utility that much to defend themselves. Turns the tables a bit.

If the lines were marked properly then he might have known he needed to move them. But with them marked incorectly, how is he supposed to know?
--
Thank you,



"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

If the dig was done during the time of a VALID locate number (7 days here, different elsewhere), the utility is responsible for the REPAIR.

This sounds right. Repair dispatchers are notorious for promising the sun, moon and stars to conclude a difficult call. They are NOT in charge of policies and procedures.
Assuming you were not left "in the dark" following the damage, THOSE repair charges should be borne by the company that screwed-up. The relocation costs are yours. I don't see a big issue.

That's a LOT of bux for a move, IMHO. You should ask if there is any portion of the work that YOU can do (cheaper). They may allow you to open the trench, place the cable and, after inspection, close it to save some money.
The fact that your home addition project requires that the buried line be moved doesn't change because someone erred by not locating the original line. The other utility rate payers should NOT have to bear the cost to move the line(s) necessary for your project. Good luck!
--
:)
JR

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Why would you need to move the line? According to their rules https://www.dom.com/customer/pdf/bluebook.pdf You could pour concrete over the conduit if you wanted to. THEY are responsible all the way to the meter base.
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The court cases I have been involved in RE: Miss Utility Locates and damage claims by utility companies have always been ruled by the judge in favor of the contractor who cut the utility when it was not located properly and the contractor did the work within the time frame of the location request. If the locator marks it wrong or neglects to mark a utility line, it is the fault of the locator contractor for Miss Utility and they are the ones responsible for costs if incurred depending on their contracts with the utility companies.. Now, as to what you were told by Dominion's repair people, I would contact Dominion and advise them of what had been told to you by their repairmen and advise them you will see them in court. Talk to someone other than a clerk. Ask specifically for a manager and advise them also as to what you were told by the repair forces on the job site, You are going to file a complaint with the state regulatory commission and proceed to do so. With telco complaints if was the FCC. Let the judge decide if you have to pay the bill or not. Write down all the information you can as you remember it, who said what, when, get the names of the repair crew from Dominion if you can, you should be able to get that information and go from there. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Usually these claims are heard by the judge in front of their honor's bench, With the judge asking each side what happened and them presenting their evidence, witness statements, cost statements, etc. In your case, the repairmen's statements to you. I would not think a lawyer for this would be much and personally I would go before the judge without that added expense, but you should do what ever is comfortable for you. My experience-- Retired Cable Maintenance Tech Verizon 32 years CC
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