Richmond woman can’t power back until landlord fixes rental home

Posted at 12:06 AM, May 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-17 00:06:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Twice in one day a branch fell from an oak tree, clipping the power to a house on Smith Avenue.

Thursday afternoon's storm delivered the third blow, when a renter was told how fast the lights got turned back on would be up to her.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" asked Beth Aberneathy.

She said it was one bad thing after another Thursday.  She woke up with no power because a branch from the same tree had fallen on her lines.

"It was real windy and the tree was bending," she said.

Then a big storm rolled through less than two hours after crews had restored power from the morning mishap.  That was the second blow.

But she says the real punch to the gut came when a Dominion power crew told her she would have to hire someone to help fix it.

"They told me the power wouldn't be back on until I install something on the side of my house, which I have no idea how to do," Aberneathy said.  "So I guess I have to just be without power."

When the branch from a large oak tree branch fell, not only did it damage the house next door and several power lines, it also ripped an eyelet from Aberneathy's home.  Now that hardware has to be replaced in order to re-string the power line, which the power company says it's not authorized to do.

So fire crews roped off the area on Smith Avenue until a power crew could cut the energized line. "It's taken down a few lines from Dominion Virginia Power and they're on the ground, so we have to keep folks away and safe," said Richmond District Chief Rocky Hudson.

It was a quick hit from a mid-May storm, leaving the question of who's responsible tangled in the debris.

"I have no idea, none whatsoever," said Aberneathy. Complicating the matter further is that the homeowner is hospitalized, in North Carolina.

Firefighters were blaming straight-line winds for the damage.