No electricity in new Woodland Hills home leaves him feeling powerless

Kent Fuller's recently completed Woodland Hills residence doesn't have an electric line attached to it

Kent Fuller's new house has three bedrooms, a loft and a drive-through basement garage that is roomy enough for four cars.

What the recently completed Woodland Hills residence doesn't have is an electric line attached to it.

His next-door neighbor has refused to grant an easement so the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power can run a power line across his backyard and hook up Fuller's house.

"It's put us in kind of a pickle," said Fuller, who with his mother has invested about $750,000 in the lot and the turreted three-story house.

"They say that my only option is to pay for an underground line that would go beneath the Ventura Freeway and connect to power on the north side of it."

And before the DWP starts digging, it wants Fuller to pay the $28,000 trenching bill.

Fuller and his 72-year-old mother, Linden Logan, say they've sunk every penny they have into the house and can't even borrow on it because it lacks electricity.

Logan, a visiting nurse who lives in West Los Angeles, bought the lot at the corner of Avenue San Luis and Shoup Avenue in 2003, with an eye toward building her retirement home on it.

"I wanted a place that my grandkids could stay when they come to visit," Logan said.

Her son started construction in 2008, operating power tools through a temporary line connected to a street lamp across Avenue San Luis. The city's Department of Building and Safety signed off on the construction and issued a certificate of occupancy in mid-2012.

Since then the house has relied on the temporary line for its lights and appliances, although the amperage is insufficient to operate its air conditioning, washer and dryer. The temporary power pole is in the middle of the home's entryway sidewalk.

Complicating things, the DWP has instructed Fuller to disconnect the makeshift line since the home is no longer under construction.

Fuller said the title search done when the lot was purchased did not disclose any issues involving electric power.

"I thought the DWP would provide electricity like it has for every other house around here," said Fuller, 45, also a West Los Angeles resident. Homes along Avenue San Luis are served by power poles placed at their back property lines. Fuller has connected the house to water, sewage and gas utilities.

He assumed that power officials would place a pole in his backyard to connect with a 200-amp panel that he positioned at the rear of the dwelling.

At first, neighbor Eric Fox seemed willing to grant the DWP an easement. But Fox's house is owned by a family trust, and other members of the trust balked at having a power line cross the backyard.

"Our research and discussions with real estate attorneys showed running the power through my yard would devalue the property," said Fox, owner of a hair salon.

Luke Zamperini, a chief inspector and spokesman for the Department of Building and Safety, suggested that Fuller's option other than paying for an underground circuit beneath the freeway is to invest in a generator or solar panels.

"I wish there was something I could do about it. He's finished the house and has a certificate of occupancy," Zamperini said.

DWP spokeswoman Michelle Vargas said her agency is willing to work with Fuller to resolve the situation. "A person who has a new home and wants to hook up can call the DWP, and we'll explore options to connect to power," she said.

In any event, there's not enough electricity connected to the street lamp to power an entire house. "If something trips, you'll have four homes without power," Vargas said.

Logan, meantime, hopes the DWP will be willing to work out a repayment plan for the trenching so electricity can finally flow into her long-planned retirement home.

"This has been devastating," she said of the situation. "We can't come up with all the money upfront."

bob.pool@latimes.com

Twitter: @BobsLAtimes

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
56°