Do I have a claim against the electric company regarding faulty equipment?

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Do I have a claim against the electric company regarding faulty equipment?

Over the weekend our electric water heater stopped working and we were receiving cold

water. We called a plumber who came out and said the thermostats must be bad and replaced them. However, 4 hours later still no hot water. The company came back out the next day and said there was a loose wire maybe and fixed it. Next morning we still didn’t have any hot water. Thinking the water heater must be bad, we tried replacing the water it but still no hot water. I called another plumber who could not find anything wrong, which made sense since we now were working with a brand new water heater. Last we called an electrician who came out and concluded that the energy saving box installed by the electric company must had gone bad, so he disconnected it and bypassed the power straight to the water heater. We now have hot water. Do we have a claim against the electric company to ask them to reimburse the roughly $900 we’ve spent trying to get hot water? Had their energy saving box sent out a message or alarm letting us know is was broken or had the box allowed power to bypass it when it broke, it would have saved us a lot of money and not had us thinking we had a broken water heater problem.

Asked on September 22, 2016 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You'd only have a claim if you can show that it is somehow "defective" for an energy-saving box like this to not have an error message or alarm, or an automatic byass--basically, you'd have to show that the normal or standard accepted one does this, and your box was therefore defective in not having those features. And even if that were the case, under the rules of court, you'd need some electrical expert (an electrician or electrical engineer experienced with boxes like this) to testify that it's defective (your testimony, as laypersons, would not be accepted as evidence); since you'd (presumably) have to pay that person to examine your box, write a report, and appear, you could spend more on the lawsuit than the $900 you want to get back. It does not appear, based on what you have written, that this is likely to be  worthile or viable case.


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