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Ontario homeowner must pay $27,000 after contractor cuts power line

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An Ontario man who built a garage on his property has been in dispute with his electricity supplier for a year and a half over a downed power line.

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

“They want $27,000,” said Paul Willis of Brampton. “And then I have to pay another contractor to go the last 80 feet, which is about another $5,000.”

Willis began building his garage in November 2021 with the help of a contractor. Willis said that early in the project, the contractor dug too deep, cutting a hydroelectric cable.

Homeowners are legally required to contact Ontario One – a free, not-for-profit agency that works with utilities to ensure no damage is done to underground gas lines, communications networks, power lines or to individuals – before beginning a digging project.

The agency’s CEO, Jim Keech, says “the whole process is about making sure that when you’re digging, whether it’s with an excavator or major equipment, you’re aware of the infrastructure and don’t hit it.” .

However, Willis says he contacted Ontario One and his contractor did not follow the agency’s instructions.

“I sued the contractor,” Willis said. “The problem is he ignored the lawsuit, he ignored my lawyer and he ignored me.”

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

He currently receives electricity from a line of utility poles that run across the ground and are connected to his house by multiple splices.

Willis says he was told to pay the fee or the hydro company will cut off his power.

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

“In response, our crews quickly resolved the issue with an emergency connection and provided the customer with an estimate of approximately $27,000 to replace the damaged line with upgraded infrastructure to meet current safety and electrical standards “, we can read.

Willis says he doesn’t think he should have to pay the entire cost and hopes to find a compromise between all parties.

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