Woman upset with power company - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Woman upset with power company

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June 3, 2003

Bainbridge - A southwest Georgia woman is upset with her power company. Bainbridge resident, Ogiretia Patterson, says, "I don't understand, we were never notified." She claims Grady EMC put a power line in her backyard without permission.

By Georgia law, power companies have to notify owners and get permission to construct lines on private property. Patterson says she never signed any paperwork. However, we found out it all depends on what year the power line was added.

Mrs. Patterson is not happy with Grady EMC. She says, "My husband and I would like to be compensated for it." Mrs. Patterson was born and raised in a Bainbridge home on Vada Road. She points, "The pole was not there 40 years ago. I know that for a fact and it wasn't here when I moved back here in 90."

She says Grady EMC workers put a power line on her six acre property, she didn't notice until late 1999. She explains, "You see where they've cut down part of the trees and made an easement."

According to Georgia law, power companies have to notify, get permission and compensate owners for land use. Right of way easement paperwork should be at the courthouse. Mrs. Patterson says, "We found out there is no signature on file at the courthouse in Decatur County."

We went to the source for answers. Grady EMC Vice President of Operations, Wayne Windham, says, "At the time there was no official need to have easements recorded."

Windham told us every pole has a birthmark. He says the pole in question was put there in 1962 before easements were recorded when people were just happy to have power. I asked, "The first one (pole) in wooded area, you checked that one?" He replied, "We checked that pole." I added, "And that one was 40 years or older?" He answered, "It's either the first pole or the second one, but I can't remember, one or the other."

Grady EMC had three maps on Patterson's property. One map drawn in 1952 shows part of a power line. The 1972 map shows a power line running north to a farming area, past her home. The 1995 map shows the same power line going up to a residential area, built in place of the farmland.

Patterson says she has contacted an attorney. Windham says they have tried to communicate with her and now it's up to Patterson to call them. Right now, the issue is up in the air.

Grady EMC workers say they tried to show Mrs. Patterson the old maps, but she wouldn't open the door. Mrs. Patterson says she told them to make an appointment because of her and her husband's health problems.

posted at 5:25PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com