Harrisburg man wants water company to ‘step up’ and pay for damage to his home

Investigators

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — For more than a year, Roger Simpson has been trying to get the water company to pay for the clean-up of his home on North 6th Street in Harrisburg.

“I would like to see Suez step up and clean this place up,” Simpson said.

In June 2020, Simpson came home from a trip and found his basement floor was covered in mud and water. “The water and mud was coming in alongside the waterline,” Simpson said.

Roger called Suez and the leak was located. “At the valve on their side, so it was their responsibility,” Simpson said.

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Suez fixed its damaged valve and then Simpson filed a claim asking Suez to fix his house.

“They denied it. They won’t help me with damages,” he said.

The abc27 Investigators contacted Suez which said it would not cover the damage because “the event was not caused by work being done by Suez, negligence, or a delay in response, all of which is criteria for coverage that Suez offers for incidents such as this.”

Simpson’s insurance company also denied his claim saying the damage was caused by groundwater, which is not covered in his homeowner’s policy. Leaving Simpson, who is retired and on a fixed income, with a muddy mess and a big bill. “I was given an estimate of $23,800 to clean it up,” Simpson said.

The Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC), regulates utilities in Pennsylvania. It encourages consumers who believe a utility has not acted appropriately or has not responded adequately to an issue to file a complaint. The PUC can not award monetary damages but can look to see if any utility or safety regulations were violated. If any violations are found the commission can seek civil penalties and operational changes.

Simpson filed an informal complaint in hopes of getting a quick resolution. The PUC responded saying since it had been more than 30 days since he had contact with Suez he was advised to contact them again to resolve the issue.

Simpson is now filing a formal complaint against Suez with the PUC. The process can take up to six months, but Suez will have to formally respond and Simpson could then get the chance to argue his case directly.

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