GEAUGA COUNTY - Lisa Salyers says it's as if a ghost took control of her South Russell home in Geauga County.
"Sparks flew out of the ceiling fan. Light bulbs burst all over the place," she said.
Her neighbor down the street complains of similar electrical issues.
"Flickering lights all the time. Bulbs burning out. Sparks flying out of the outlets. We don't feel safe," said Suzanne Moloney, who has used a spreadsheet to document electrical hazards in about half of the 34 homes in their subdivision. Most of the problems have occurred over the past six months.
Moloney and Salyers echo the complaints of their neighbors. Homeowners complain that power surges have destroyed major appliances and electronics.
"I lost a dryer motherboard, a dehumidifier, computer, refrigerator and stove," Moloney said.
Excessive voltage coming into Salyers home has damaged televisions, her dishwasher, garage door opener, dishwasher and invisible fence among other items.
"You're supposed to have 120v coming out of the fuse box and we got readings in the 190s and 220 range," she said.
The homeowners have complained to First Energy to no avail. They say the power company won't take any responsibility, forcing homeowners to instead file insurance claims. That means paying high deductibles, which Salyers finds unacceptable.
"Certainly, we didn't cause any of the damage," she said.
First Energy told WKYC that if homeowners are concerned about voltage levels coming into their homes, they'll dispatch a technician to check it out. If there's a problem, homeowners can file a claim with the company.
But, as it points out, utilities are usually not responsible for damage done to electrical items caused by faulty equipment.
They recommend a surge protector. Either the type you plug-in to an outlet or better yet, a whole-house unit that's installed for a few hundred dollars into the home's electrical panel.
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