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Ontario homeowner on the hook for $27,000 when contractor severed power line

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An Ontario man who built a garage on his property has been locked in a battle with his electricity provider for a year and half over a severed power line.

His electricity provider, Alectra Utilities, wants him to pay $27,000 for the repair.

“They want $27,000,” Paul Willis of Brampton said. “And then I have to pay another contractor to run the final 80 feet and that’s about another $5,000.”

Willis started building his garage in November 2021 with the help of a contractor. Willis said that at the start of the project, the contractor dug too deep, severing a hydro cable.

Homeowners are legally required to contact Ontario One – a free, non-profit agency that works with utilities to make sure no damage is done to underground gas pipes, communications networks, power lines or individuals – before beginning a digging project.

The agency’s CEO, Jim Keech, says that “the whole process is to make sure when you dig, be it with a shovel or major equipment, you’re aware of the infrastructure and don’t hit it.”

However, Willis says that he did contact Ontario One, and that his contractor didn’t follow the agency’s instructions.

“I’ve sued the contractor,” Willis said. “The problem is he has ignored the suit, he has ignored my lawyer and he has ignored me.”

Since November 2021, Alectra has repaired the hydro line two times. Both times, the line broke, leaving Willis with a temporary hydro line that he says needs to be replaced.

He is currently receiving power from a hydro pole line that is running over the ground with multiple splices connected to his home.

Willis says that he’s been told to pay the fee, or the hydro company is going to shut off his power.

In a statement to CTV News, a Alectra Utilities spokesperson said that they are aware of the situation and that their records indicate that the existing line was damaged by the third-party contractor.

“In response, our crews promptly addressed the issue with an emergency connection and provided the customer with an estimate of approximately $27,000 to replace the damaged line with an upgraded infrastructure in order to meet existing safety and electrical standards,” it reads.

Willis says that he doesn’t feel that he should have to pay the entire cost, and is hoping to find a compromise between all parties. 

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