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Residents frustrated after power surge destroys expensive appliances

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OKLAHOMA CITY — A power surge that happened 10 days ago has left a lasting effect on one neighborhood.

Residents along N.W. 50th and Colfax now say they have broken stoves, ovens, air conditioners and TV’s because of that power surge.

Tomika Dykes says the power surge hit her home on June 26 as OG&E crews and contractors were working on power lines in the area.

“The lights were flickering on and off. We thought mainly it was a ghost,” Dykes said.

Now, Dykes feels like the energy company is keeping her in the dark.

“They came out and fixed the problem but the problem that it left behind is that we’re out of an a/c. It blew my oven out, it blew my stove top out, it blew my TV out,” she said.

As it turns out, the surge blew out appliances in several other homes along N.W. 50th and Colfax.

“When it came back on, I didn’t have air conditioning, my dryer was out, my in-wall oven didn’t work. It blew the microwave, my doorbell,” Linda Maxey said.

Now, neighbors say they are left footing the bill.

“People don`t really have that type of cash just laying around to buy new appliances,” said Dykes.

Residents say they received a letter from OG&E asking for invoices and receipts.

“They’re talking about seven to 10 days and I don’t think we paying customers should have to wait to get this resolved,” said Tomika Dykes.

Dykes says she has already paid more than $230 to fix her air conditioning unit, but she’s not alone.

“I’m paying like $500 to get my air conditioning, I got an electrician to come out,” said Maxey.

Both residents say they can’t just simply fix everything and hope OG&E will later reimburse the cost.

“Just repair my things,” said Maxey.

“This should be resolved immediately,” Dykes said.

OG&E didn’t say how or why the surge happened, but responded with information regarding the claims process.

“We were able to review our records regarding the customers at the 5000 block of Colfax and Lombardy Streets. Our records show that their complaints were turned over to our Claims Department in Corporate Insurance, and that these customers received letters requesting more information about their claims. Information requested included the following:

· Copies of written cost estimates from certified repair technicians, including cost of repairs and any parts needed (we can reimburse customers for the cost for estimates if they turn in valid receipts).
· An itemized list of damaged items including the brand, serial number and manufacturer’s date (age of equipment).
· A self-addressed, stamped envelope for returning the forms needed

We need to have this information in order to process any claim so that we can conduct a proper investigation. This is much the same process that an insurance company would take if you filed a claim with your homeowner’s insurance.

Here is more information about our claims process:
If a customer has a claim, he/she first contacts customer service, which then submits the claim to our claims department. We review claims on a daily basis and investigate all claims individually to make a final determination of negligence based on our investigation. We begin our investigation by reviewing the customer’s account history, outage reports, outage reports from our Distribution Control Center (this is the group that monitors and assigns crew activity as outages are reported), work orders associated with the outage and other information within our databases. We also look at outage history at the meter, transformer and circuit level associated with service address. We may also contact field members and district supervisors if we need further information or clarification. After a thorough investigation, we send a letter to the customer either accepting or denying their claim.

The letters these customers received are part of our internal process for claims investigation. We take these steps in order to protect all customers from potential fraud (which costs every customer).

We know that to customers who file claims, this may seem like a long process, but it’s necessary in order for us to do the right thing for the customer filing the claim and for us to have a fair assessment of all costs associated with the claim.”