when fitting a fence at a family members house, i struck a cable buried 3″ below the surface. i was thankfully using a wooden handled matic at the time. SSE then came out to repair it. a month passed and i recieved a bill for splicing the cable. this was for £383.00.
i then disputed this invoice see below
I am writing to formally dispute the above and attached invoice.
Firstly the fact that the cable was buried at a dangerously shallow depth (no more than 3”) is cause enough to dispute this. We were removing a stump from the hedge and struck it with a matic. On further investigation it appears the only place the cable was this shallow was at that exact point, as stated by your operatives. Additionally they themselves stated they would recommend no charge be made due to the depth of the cable and the fact I had actually bothered to report it and not just hid it.
The recommendations from your own installations document for cable depths are as follows:
LV/MV upto 415V
Footpaths/Driveways, etc 450mm
Additionally it is stated that Where cable depth cannot be achieved due to other plant in the ground then variations in the route and / or extra protective measures must be in place and that Marker tape manufactured to ENA TS 12-23 will be installed over all mains cables, service cables, ducts and service tubes. The tape will be placed 150 mm directly above the cable or duct. None of which is in place.
Furthermore the fact that for the first hour of their arrival on site had their dinner break that you are attempting to charge for. We took as many precautions as were possible but due to the fact that the cable is only that depth it is unreasonable to charge for damage to it. I dig deeper than that in my garden planting my VEG!
I look forward to your prompt response.
I RECEIVED THIS RESPONSE 4 MONTHS LATER
Cable Damage/New Connections
200 Dunkeld Road
Direct Telephone: 01738 456307 Facsimile: 01738 455211
Date 23 Marcl
Our Reference: 099396231 Your Reference:
Cable Damage Incident @ Swinbrook Road, Carterton, Oxfordshire – 01.10.11 Invoice Amount – £382.50 Amended Invoice Amount – £321.21
Thank you for your letter dated 21 November 2011. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.
The decision to charge for emergency work is made by the depot and our engineers have no authority to decide if a charge is applicable. Therefore, we apologise on their behalf for giving you misleading information.
We lay our cables to standard depths (e.g. low voltage in footpath is 450mm, and high voltage in footpath is 750 mm) and we surround them in sand and place marker on top. After they are laid, we have no control over any future landscaping of the ground due to unforeseen construction work which may take place in the vicinity. The placing of marker tape above all low voltage cables has become standard practice but only since 2003. Cables laid prior to this time may not have marker tape.
Also, taking into consideration your comments over the billing hours we are prepared to reduce the billing hours by one hour and enclose an amended invoice showing the reduction.
Damage At: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Our Reference: P86656
Invoice Amount: £321.21
Invoice Number: 099396231
Invoice Date: 14-NOV-ll
I enclose the attached invoice to cover the cost of our emergency call out to the above address. I look forward to receiving your remittance.
The invoice is payable now. We reserve the right to charge interest (National Westminster base rate + 4%) on the unpaid amount, if payment is not received within 30 working days.
Our bank account details are: Natwest, 13 Market Place, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 2EP.
Business Credit Manager
In response to your revised invoice, I am formally disputing this once again.
Firstly more than 4 months is not an acceptable amount of time to respond to a disputed invoice and I expect a response within 10 working days to this email.
Secondly please respond to the above address now as it was me who cut the cable.
The cable was 3” that’s 75mm not 18”/450mm below the soil, there has been no further landscaping since the residents moved in 30 years ago. there was no sand surround. They were not buried in the foot path but within the grass boarder.
After speaking with the operatives and getting them to check the surrounding cables this was the only area it was that shallow it dropped away substantially either side of the place it was that shallow.
Reducing the time is not an acceptable resolution and I am willing to challenge this further. If you still wish to peruse this matter I suggest we meet to discuss it further and you provide me with evidence the cables were laid to the above mentioned standards to start with. This will need to include plan drawings and cable layouts for the street.
If you are unable to provide evidence that the cables were buried initially to this safe depth I would like an explanation as to why my life was put at risk by this negligence.
If it was not you who laid the original cables, you should be aware that by taking ownership of them, you are responsible for them and if they are not buried at safe depths you are responsible for correcting this. Please can you also send your H+S procedures and policies for dealing with cables buried at unsafe depths.
I look forwards to your response and expect to hear from you within 10 working days of the above date.
AND THEIR RESPONSE TODAY
Thank you for your email dated 3 April 2012.
There has been changes in my team which has had an impact on my work log, however, this is of not fault of yours therefore please again accept my apologies for the delay in replying.
Our Oxford depot are prepared to cancel this invoice in your favour and would like to contact the new owner so they can lower the cable at the point you stated. Can you possibly assist by giving me their name and we will contact them about making arrangements to do this.
In the meantime, I apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you.