Last week I was out of town at the TSP earthworks course in Ft. Worth, Texas. While I was gone, some major progress began at the Ant Farm. It’s rare that an inch of progress is made without me pushing as hard as I can, so it’s pretty safe to say I was excited. Apparently, the power company finally felt like it was time to install my power lines, and I got a text from my neighbor with a picture.
In the picture I could see where the tree trimmers butchered our pines, and I could make out both power poles, the transformer and the primary line dangling to the ground. After having been told repeatedly that they wouldn’t begin installation until the home was on-site, this was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only surprise I would get, and the next one was nowhere near as pleasant…
Late Night Shock
When I drove up to the property Monday night, my heart sank, and I felt utterly sick to my stomach. My driveway looked like a bomb had gone off. As we slowly moved toward the home site, my anger grew. The entire shoulder of the road was covered in slashes of deep ruts. At the bottom of the hill, I was mortified to see that the trucks literally drove over the end of my culvert. Then the realization hit that it wasn’t just one side of the road. Both shoulders were demolished. The crown of the road, which has endured multiple dump truck runs, the installation of my septic tank, and everything else I’ve thrown at it, was rutted and torn.
I turned to Leigh, “I don’t understand how this is even possible… It’s like they went out of their way to ruin my driveway.”
I immediately sent an email to the engineer who worked on my project inquiring as to how a crew could leave my property in this condition. Who would look at the devastation and think, “This is a job well done?”
The next morning I touched base with my neighbor, and he expressed his shock at how completely they had ruined my road. Since Tuesday I’ve had three separate neighbors reach out to me, wondering what the heck had happened. So far it’s unanimous: Alabama Power destroyed my driveway.
For those of you who have been following this blog, you’ll know how I already felt about Alabama Power. For those of you who haven’t, I detailed my previous experiences with my least favorite government-sanctioned monopoly here.
Where Things Stand
A few days later, I finally heard back from the engineer, and he said they were looking into it. He suggested that they might send some people over to clean up the mess. After talking with several knowledgeable people, I’m convinced that my road will have to be completely re-graded and topped to restore it to its original condition. I feel confident that Alabama Power is thinking they’ll just shovel the dirt back into the ruts and call it good. Either way, I’m guessing that this debacle won’t be resolved with any more urgency or humanity than the last one.
The truth is that they have no real incentive to make this right. The Alabama Public Service Commission is my only avenue for recourse, and I fear that they only obey the will of the powerful lobbies and politicians.
Once again, the power company has left me feeling powerless. I’m going to fight. What would you do?