PG&E settles claim with homeowner after power surge

One Southwest Bakersfield homeowner finally received a check after a power surge damaged thousands of dollars worth of property.
Weeks after a power surge in a Southwest Bakersfield neighborhood damaged thousands of dollars worth of electronics, one homeowner finally received some compensation from PG&E but, she's still frustrated at the way the utility handled her claim.

Clarissa Wilstead says it took two 17 News investigations for her to receive any response from PG&E regarding the damage to her property. She says she's accepted having to replace most of it out of pocket, but she wishes PG&E would accept some responsibility.

"I live in this neighborhood, I have to purchase from PG&E. My hands are tied, I have to and that is beyond frustrating for me."

Clarissa Wilstead is one of several homeowners in this Southwest Bakersfield neighborhood who lost appliances and electronic devices after a power surge in August.

"Having a surge protector didn't help, it was too powerful," Wilstead said.

So powerful that one of her neighbor's meters was blown right off the wall.

At first, PG&E told Wilstead lightning caused the surge and no negligence on the utility's part was found. Later, the utility recanted and Wilstead responded to that claim via e-mail.

"And in that e-mail I said I know that it's not lightning. I know that it was a transmission line that hit a distribution line, I know that PG&E was at fault," Wilstead said.

Wilstead says PG&E has not accepted responsibility for the surge, but three weeks after filing her claim, the utility issued her a check for $3,000.

"Better than the rejection letter that I got."

Wilstead had to purchase a new washer and dryer, among other items. While she's thankful for the check from PG&E, she says it only covers half of what her family lost.

Wilstead says none of her neighbors or Quailwood Elementary school have received a response from PG&E in regards to their claims. Still no word from PG&E on what caused the power surge.
 
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