PG&E promises resolution to frustrated homeowner

August 19, 2011 7:50:46 PM PDT
Three weeks shy of the anniversary of the San Bruno pipeline explosion, the Glenwood neighborhood is a picture of empty lots where homes once stood. One fire victim has waited all this time to hear from Pacific Gas and Electric about the money it owed her for the damage to her home, and the payment only happened after ABC7 News contacted the utility.

Gilda Tarzia's rental property in Redwood City is a house, but certainly not a home. With every day she lives in it, Tarzia becomes more and more anxious.

"My blood pressure is up, I've been on meds, I go to counseling twice a week. i don't sleep," said Tarzia.

Such is the stress of dealing with PG&E after surviving the San Bruno explosion.

"I am lucky to be alive," said Tarzia. "But once you get over that and you thank God, you know that your life is not what it should be, especially at my age."

Little remains of the house she used to live in on Claremont Drive. Tarzia, and her boyfriend, Tim Chrismas, have no desire to rebuild or return. However, they have not been able to buy a new home in the area because while insurance has covered $700,000, PG&E has paid nothing, including money that should have gone to the cost of the lot in San Bruno, plus more for the home's destroyed contents.

"It's like trying to deal with the David trying to deal with a Goliath," said Chrismas.

"They owe me over $400,000 that they have committed to in their purchase program," said Tarzia.

"They do not want to talk to our lawyers. They want to delay things," said Chrismas. "They don't want to pay monies that, more or less, we had signed up for."

The level of frustration of some San Bruno residents is so high that 50 of them have filed a class action suit against PG&E. Neither PG&E, nor their lawyers, would comment on the status of that case Friday, but when ABC7 News called the utility and asked specifically about Tarzia, PG&E reacted quickly and surprisingly by mid-afternoon.

"She shouldn't have had to have gone to you to get this taken care of," said PG&E spokesperson David Eisenhauer. "What's important here is we have committed that we're going to work with her attorneys and we will be paying her what she is asking for to close the sale of her home."

As to how soon PG&E will pay that money, the agency would not say. There is still also the open question about the contents of the house.


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