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SCE Encroachment
updated: Dec 01, 2012, 11:30 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have recently been involved in an easement/encroachment issue with SCE that has left me seriously frustrated with them.

I am curious if there are more of you out there with similar experiences with SCE planners. Please only post a reply if it concerns an experience with easements, or an experience with a SCE planner.

I do not want to hear more comments about how dumb smart meters are.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 349222 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 11:44 AM

Good luck with this one. If you get in to any lawsuit with them all they do is ignore it as long as possible and they play the waiting game until you give up. They are a horrible company with way too much power. I wish I could share my experience with them but they caused about 120,000 in damage to my house two years ago and are baulking at it. It's still going.

 

 COMMENT 349224 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 11:46 AM

easement is the right to pass over your land. encroachment is not legal. what is it thats going on?

 

 COMMENT 349226P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 11:48 AM

John Hebda (805) 636-2537 (title and property research) was extremely helpful to us on a utility easement issue. He is knowledgeable, thorough, and very responsive.

 

 COMMENT 349231 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 12:15 PM

You should post what the issue is, so that people might be able to offer help. Your post sounds more like you want to form a support group for SCE planner-haters, than get help with your issue. What is the issue? I shall have to make guesses. Have you developed an encroachment into their easement and now they need access? Suck it up and clear out of the easement, that would be your mistake. Is their utility work encroaching on your property outside the easement? Have the easement staked in the area of question, and once verified, draw your sword and go after them. Do you have an ancient and unused easement running through little Johnny's bedroom which was ignored when building, and now you want to get SCE to release interest in it? Talk to an attorney, and try to get a different contact to work with at SCE. What else...

 

 COMMENT 349245 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 01:05 PM

Can't help you if we don't know what the issue is. Please explain clearly and with factual details.

 

 COMMENT 349246 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 01:12 PM

I used to have a telephone pole in my backyard and never had a problem over it. Then again, I never had other designs on that part of the property so I guess I was never a problem to SCE over their pole and tensioning wires. I realized my property rights are trumped by the public utility's need to deliver services to the entire community.

All this makes me wonder what you're doing that has you butting heads over the issue of easements for the public good and the ensuing encroachment, for private reasons not spelled out here, on such easements.

BTW smart meters are so dumb they can't even boil an egg, much less burn toast or make coffee.

 

 COMMENT 349250 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 01:33 PM

We had an issue when we were adding onto our home in Goleta. They decided at the last minute we had to go underground with all our utilities. The pole is in the neighbors yard up the hill from our home. We had to call dig alert, dig down around and under the the pole down and under a 4 foot retaining wall and back up through our yard. Very costly expense. On top of that SCE charged us $1200 just to have a planner come out and inform us to dig it ourselves. They never even marked it. This is after we had poured foundation, framed and sheer walled. Good luck. Once SCE gets a bug up their you know what you have to "oblige" them..all at YOUR cost! Oh and now the pole is loose and tilted and they could care less. It's a transformer pole too!

 

 COMMENT 349272 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 02:38 PM

OP - how can we offer you any help without details?

Second the referral of John Hebda, he's a good guy.

 

 COMMENT 349279P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 03:05 PM

OP here.
We have a permitted city of SB set of plans for a new home, which means that SCE had to sign off for a new meter after reviewing the plans prior to issuance. The plans clearly showed the recorded 5' easement (the SCE pole is centered in this easement), our surveyor and title company confirmed this.
30 days into the project, and just a day before footings were to poured, an SCE planner came on site, and then sent an email to the city of SB, instructing to cease construction due to what they claimed was an additional 5' easement that "somehow was not recorded on title", even though the title company and the surveyor sent them notice that they were wrong.
This phase of the battle cost us 31 days delay, until they finally came back and agreed that they would allow us to build as planned, and city permit approved, as long as we submitted an application for encroachment. They were still claiming the additional 5' because "we always have ten foot easements".
In order to submit this application, we needed to prepare a site map depicting this encroachment, but again had no documents to prepare them with. SCE spent the last 90 days shuffling between their ROW (right of way) department, several planners, legal, real estate departments, etc., and after more than four months of this have agreed to prepare the encroachment documents themselves. I still do know what will be delivered to us, or how they plan on creating this without some sort of supporting documentation, but assume they will draft something up referring to "prescriptive rights". Even with prescriptive rights, using the drip line of the closest high voltage wire, we are still outside of this line.
We called SCE on 11/9 to inspect the new meter/panel location so we could energize the new house. They would not approve until the encroachment permit was issued, and all total now we have lost over 52 days of construction because of their claim.
I just received an email yesterday stating that they have finally determined that the title company was correct and that they do not have claim to this additional 5'.
I will post again once I see these documents promised from SCE next week.
The construction business is hard enough without stuff like this.
In a free market system, why do we tolerate these monopolies?

 

 COMMENT 349284 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 03:18 PM

Only 52 days? You got off easy .We built a house 4 years ago and if you added up delays from city and fire and power and...we could probably count 6 months of lost production.We crossed all of our t's and dotted our i's before we ever submitted,but the city or utilities inspectors dont have jobs unless they can create controversy.

 

 COMMENT 349286 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-01 03:31 PM

I would never agree in writing to them having any easement that is not recorded. That company is getting pretty close to committing actionable wrongdoing. Claiming that they have a right that they do not have, interfering improperly with your plans, costing you money. Time to lay hardball with them, IMHO. Years ago I came home from work to find a hole dug in my front yard. No prior notice. I discovered that SCE planned to put in a pole. I put a sign next to the hole stating that they were trespassing, cease and desist, etc. and went to work. Next day a crew was inspecting my sign. SCE claimed they had an easement. They had no easement. They claimed that it was in the street right of way. I told them to do a survey to prove that. Next day they had another way to deal with their need for a pole. Might have helped that I am a lawyer. I would not put up with it for a minute.

 

 COMMENT 349401 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 06:42 AM

You allowed this to happen to yourself. I would not have stopped construction. There was no physical reason to stop work. You had the facts and the law on your side but you allowed a monopolistic for-profit company to run you around. No wonder amerika is in the crapper. Citizens don't bother to know their rights or stick up for them. You could try to sue sce and the city for "taking" your property even if it was temporary. They made a false claim to a five foot wide strip of your property. Get a small claims court judgement and take it off your electric bill. The building department is there to assist people to build their legally allowable development. If they stood in your way after you demonstrated sce's claim to be incorrect, you have a case against them too. Good luck, probably best to move on, life lesson for you and your general contractor.

 

 COMMENT 349410 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 07:47 AM

401 - the situation sucks, but your advice sucks more and should not be taken seriously. First, it is nearly impossible to take a company like SCE to small claims, as they have legal duties to have proper legal representation in court so they must move jurisdiction to Superior court as step one, making you scramble for a lawyer and costing you time and money. Second, if you violate a stop work order on your own authority without proper legal actions you can lose your permits, be required to restore the property to the original state before being allowed to pull new permits, and be denied an occupancy permit if you take it to its conclusion. The OP needs the advice of a lawyer, not a loudmouth (though the two are often related).

 

 RESIDENT agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 11:33 AM

It appears that you were intimidated into the delay.

There is no easement if it wasn't recorded, even if one had been planned by SCE and previous owners. And if an easement existed, your survey or title search would have uncovered it. If your title insurance company missed it, they are on the hook for the financial damages caused by that error.

Without an easement, you have no encroachment into their easement. So to file for an encroachment permit only gives more credibility to their specious claim.

Hiring an attorney at day 1 would have helped you a lot. But unfortunately it also would have cost you a lot. And, while it is true that attorneys are almost never allowed to represent a party in small claims court, 410's advice that SCE could unilaterally move a small claims action to superior court is questionable. They would probably attempt to do so to make it too costly for you to proceed. But that is precisely why scc exists; to allow for small plaintiffs to have a chance where they couldn't afford to pursue a superior court action.

Also be prepared, if you aren't already, for the requirement to underground your service line from the SCE pole to your house service panel.

Good luck in the rest of this battle against the corporate and government bureaucrats!

 

 COMMENT 349991 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:50 AM

To the OP...Free Market system? In our country? Since when?

 

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