Today’s news:

Con Ed-Verizon pole spat sticks resident with bill

Community Board 7 member John Barone said a finger-pointing match between two of the largest companies in the country has started over electrical damage to his home, but thus far he has had to foot the $3,000 bill.

Barone, who lives at 14-57 157th St. in Whitestone, said the trouble started in mid-July when his lights began flickering during a thunderstorm. The problem persisted and Barone, unable to locate the cause of the problem, called an electrician.

“What had happened is this telephone pole outside my house has been leaning away from the house towards the street,” Barone said. “It pulled the wires on top of my house so tight that it pulled the pole holding them off the house and it cracked a water drainage pipe.”

The result was water funneling into his home’s main circuit box, which quickly became rusted and began to short out.

“The electrician said if I hadn’t called him, there would have been a fire,” he said, “so it could have been a lot worse.”

Barone said the repairs cost him $3,000 and when Con Edison workers initially responded to the scene, they told him the utility would pay for the repairs if he filed a claim.

But shortly after doing so, Barone said he received a call from Con Ed’s utility department, informing him that while the wiring was theirs, the pole itself belonged to telecommunications company Verizon.

“So I called up Verizon and they told me that it’s the wires that are pulling the pole to the side, so it’s Con Edison’s responsibility,” Barone said.

He said it has been nearly a month since he filed his claim with both companies, but has yet to hear back with any resolution. Calls to Con Ed and Verizon were not returned for comment by press time.

“They both say they maintain their equipment regularly,” Barone said. “I’ve lived here 35 years and I’ve never seen anyone from either company out here to look at this pole. No one wants to take responsibility.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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