Disabled veteran’s yard center of complaint against Columbia Gas

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

By Terry L. Hapney, Jr.
The Ironton Tribune

A Chesapeake man says he’s getting the “runaround” regarding attempts to get Columbia Gas of Ohio to restore his yard to how it was before the company’s contractor dug it up and removed part of his curb to lay new lines.
William Taylor, longtime resident and a disabled veteran, said he didn’t mow part of his yard to show the type of grass the contractor put down is inconsistent with the rest of his lawn.
“This is their grass,” Taylor said pointing to it. “It’s what they put on hillsides.”
RLA, according to Taylor, as a contractor for Columbia Gas put in a pipeline along Route 7. Taylor showed where the line went through his neighbor’s and his father’s yards.
Taylor says he tried to work with RLA and nd curb restored. He said that did not work, so he contacted the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to file a complaint.
“They’re saying they don’t have jurisdiction,” Taylor said.
An email from PUCO indicates that the organization “reached out to Columbia Gas on (Taylor’s) behalf. Columbia Gas of Ohio’s response was after multiple attempts to reach (Taylor) by phone, they completed a site visit on June 20, 2024.”
The email says Columbia Gas visited Taylor’s house to contact him again, and there was no answer. After a review, the construction field leader and general contractor manager do not agree with Taylor’s claims, according to PUCO.
PUCO’s Jenifer Phillips said those reps said the steps were removed per Taylor’s request.
“They stated the area then had topsoil and grass seed laid down,” she said. “They stated there is grass in the area where they completed work; however, it has not been taken care of and is consistent with other parts of (Taylor’s) yard.”
As for the curb, Phillips said the reps don’t believe it was there before the work.
“They claim Google Earth images support their claim,” Phillips said. “The company advised they sent (Taylor) an email in response to (his) complaint after multiple attempts were made to contact (him).”
“They responded that they made multiple attempts to call me,” Taylor said. “I never got a call.”
State workers were in front of Taylor’s house recently. He asked why they won’t fix his curb and was told: “It’s Columbia Gas’s problem.”
“I take pride in my yard,” he said. “It’s hard for me to mow and walk on it. They’re saying there was never a curb here, but you can see where they cut it.”
Taylor said workers laid gravel where the curb was.
“Now they’re getting ready to pave Route 7,” he said. “The state said they will pave up to here (pointing to just before where the gravel starts). It’s just a mess.”
The workers fixed Taylor’s father’s curb in front of his house next door. Taylor said they fixed his neighbor’s, too.
“They’re saying I didn’t have one,” he said.
Taylor said when he initially spoke to the contractors, they told him they would fix it.
“They’d put the curb back,” Taylor said. “Then Columbia Gas came—a supervisor. He said he’d get C.J. Hughes to fix it.”
Now, Taylor said, Columbia Gas is saying it doesn’t have any responsibility. Taylor said there were concrete steps running down the section of his yard where he says it is uneven and the grass is now inconsistent.
“They destroyed the bottom of the steps,” he said.
Taylor said the workers told him they couldn’t fix those to ensure consistency with all the steps. He said they offered to take them out or leave the bottom damaged.
“My response was I guess you’ll have to take them out if you can’t fix it,” he said.
Taylor said he doesn’t want anything more than his yard to look like it did originally. He said workers cut out the bottom of his driveway and were going to patch it.
“I asked them if they would take all of that section out and redo it,” he said. “I think it aggravated them. I think I got payback.”
In response to PUCO stating a Columbia Gas representative knocked on his door, Taylor says he has a dog “that barks when the wind blows.”
Bill Loomer, communications manager representing Columbia Gas of Ohio, said the company understands Taylor’s concerns and “takes them seriously.”
“Our construction team has made multiple attempts to reach Mr. Taylor, but unfortunately, they’ve been unable to do so,” he said. “We will continue to work with Mr. Taylor to address his concerns.”
Brittany Waugaman, communications specialist with PUCO, said Taylor filed an informal complaint with PUCO.
“Our review at the time found that Columbia Gas followed construction guidelines as required under Ohio law,” she said. “If Mr. Taylor is unsatisfied with the outcome of this review, he has the right to file a formal complaint with the PUCO and continue further investigation.”

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