Letters to the Editor

Feedback: County always denies claims

The article regarding the denial of a claim, by Puget Energy, for the replacement of a power pole at the intersection of Race Rd. and Dalton Rd. is interesting.

I was assigned as supervisor of the local Service Center in 1986 and the first thing I learned was that local authorities never admitted responsibility for such damage.

A number of power — and presumably telephone — poles were damaged by mowing units. Those articulated mowing machines are sort of mobile wood chipper s(distribution poles are about a foot across at the base and are rapidly chewed up by the machines) and can slice off a steel anchor rod as though it was made of plastic.

As I recall, even though claims were presented to Island County, none were accepted. The usual response was, “We allow the power company to operate here at our pleasure and any damage to their plant is no fault of the county’s.”

The implication was that the power company could sue, but should remember that (a) The county operates courts and (b) Future applications for franchise rights might be difficult to pursue. Electrical users were presumed to be unaffected. i.e. removal of power lines would have no effect on delivery of electricity.

So Puget merely absorbed the cost and counted them as part of operating overhead. No matter the result, the tax/rate payer is stuck with the cost of replacing the damaged property.

As for a five foot clearance around utility installations: Anyone who can’t see 35- feet of pole sticking out of the ground has no business operating a mower in the first place!


Oak Harbor

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