This morning I get a panicky phone call from a property manager regarding a property I am about to list. “The alarm company called and the power went off yesterday, and I called the power company and they said there was a fire!”

So I headed down to the property, and of course there was no fire, but the power lines from the pole to the house were missing. Really. The overhead wires that someone would have to have a bucket truck or something to cut loose, they were gone. And the gate to the yard was unlatched. I know copper is a popular target right now, but really?

So I called the property manager and told her the wires were missing. She called the power company back and they told her, oh, no, the problem is a bad circuit breaker. Right. I had looked pretty carefully and I knew there was no power to the meter, so circuit breaker or no, the power was not there BECAUSE THERE WERE NO WIRES!!!!

So I offered to call the power company myself and talk with them. I spent about 20 minutes talking to a customer service person who 1) refused to look up the trouble ticket the property manager had generated and 2) informed me that the power was off due to a customer request. Really? So I finally asked for the supervisor, and he actually (after 5 minutes on hold and another 5 minutes while he looked it up) knew sort of what happened. A fire? Oh, no, that is just the box we check at the top of the form and it actually says “Fire / Equipment Problem”. Then he proceeded to tell me that on the last visit the technician determined that the wires were frayed and needed replacing, so they sent a letter to the account holder (who at that time was a tenant who was moving out) letting them know that this work was going to happen, and when the tech was out to replace the wires he noted that the service disconnect breaker was in need of replacement. I said, “But there are no wires from the pole to the house!” He said his tech had replaced them not an hour ago.

Great, so in the meantime, this house is in an area that has experienced some vandalism (hence my assumption that the wires had been stolen), and the alarm system has died. Were they going to be responsible for this? No, they had notified the account holder….

So I have the alarm company out running an extension cord from the neighbor’s house to power the alarm…and it is Friday December 21.