7 On Your Side helps customer get PG&E refund due to power outage

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A power outage that lasted more than half a day left a San Jose woman with a refrigerator filled with spoiled food and dairy products.

A lot of people don't know state regulations allow homeowners to file claims against PG&E, or any other utility, for food spoiled as result of a power outage. However, in this case, the utility was slow to admit fault.

"The cheese is all melted together because it got so warm," explained Cory Laubscher.

A lot of her food was spoiled after an outage that left her without power for 14 hours back on September 11.

"Cottage cheese that got gross. Milk. Some bad lettuce," said Laubscher. "Everything smelled bad. Everything was warm and moldy."

Under PG&E rules and tariff, customers can file claims for food spoilage caused by any outage of more than two hours. But the utility denied the claim.

In its rejection letter, PG&E wrote, "The cause of this electrical problem was due to the cable company digging into our lines and damaging our facilities."

That company is CableCom, which doesn't provide cable service, but lays down the underground lines needed for telecommunications. It too denied the claim saying PG&E didn't label its lines properly.

It wrote: "PG&E has failed to accurately provide markings for their systems that has resulted in the system incurring damage."

"It felt kind of childish. It was really back and forth. I couldn't believe that a major company was operating in such a childish way," said Laubscher.

PG&E eventually sent Laubscher a check $80, which was the amount for half the claim, on the condition she end the whole matter with the utility.

But she refused to accept the settlement. Instead, she turned to 7 On Your Side, who called PG&E and it agreed to pay the entire claim.

PG&E told 7 On Your Side, "When we learned of Ms. Laubscher's dissatisfaction, we provided a full reimbursement. We apologize."

CableCom refused to comment for this story.

If you need to file a PG&E loss claim, click here.
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