Family Blames BWL For Outage

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"I'm very frustrated. Just really mad at Board of Water and Light and I just cannot believe their service. It just blows me away," said Marylou Ruff, a homeowner in Delta Township.

When the Ruff family noticed that the tree in their yard was leaning and going to fall over, they called a tree trimming service. The tree cutters came the same day, Wednesday May 7, just a few hours later.

However, the crew determined the tree was too close to the house's powerline and a safety risk. The family would have to contact its utility company to take care of the tree. That's when the Ruff family contacted BWL.

"They said someone was out here that same day about 3:22 p.m. and they said that it's not their problem because it's not going to affect the powerlines," said Marylou.

But it did.

Friday morning around 6:15, the family woke up to a huge crash. Their power was knocked out and a massive tree was laying in their backyard. A strong gust of wind was all it took.

"If happy was ten and mad is zero, I'm at negative one. It's ridiculous," said Kurt Ruff, Marylou's husband.

The family said last November, the other half of the tree fell down almost in the exact same place.

"Thank God nobody got hurt," said Marylou, who said they had live wires on the ground for four days before BWL fixed the problem.

"Don't believe what they say and ask a lot more questions," said Kurt. "Tell them to go directly to a supervisor cause the customer service--they are not answering the questions."

The inaction on BWL's part now means the family won't have TV signal for days.

Luckily Kurt is an electrician and quickly fixed their broken riser.

Adding to the frustration, it wasn't just the Ruff family that was affected. Their neighbor's riser was also knocked down when the tree fell on the line.

They say it adds up to hundreds of dollars worth of repairs that could have been avoided if BWL had addressed the issue when it visited the home on Wednesday.

"It seems like communication, they need to work on improving their communication," said Ken Hoskins, the Ruff's neighbor.

The Ruff family said the workers are great. Once Kurt fixed the riser, the BWL worker quickly put up the new line and power was restored to the home in about two hours. They said it's the management that's the problem.

"They never call you back, never leave a note saying what's going on or anything," said Marylou. "What's the manager at Board of Water and Light doing? This is ridiculous."

Speaking of calling back, late Friday afternoon News Ten spoke with BWL's Director of Communications on the phone about the issue. He said this was an unfortunate set of circumstances. The BWL was going to send out their tree supervisor within the normal 48 hours--but the tree fell before that happened. He said the BWL regrets any inconvenience.

The BWL said it is only responsible if the power line is threatened, not cable or phone lines. In those cases, it will work with private contractors and homeowners to make sure power lines are turned off so crews can work.

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