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Metairie neighbors lose thousands of dollars in appliances after transformer malfunctions

Two apparent power surges caused thousands of dollars in damage in one Metairie neighborhood.

METAIRIE, La. — You’re usually worried you’ll lose power when a thunderstorm hits, but residents in one Metairie neighborhood were shocked by what happened last Thursday.

According to neighbors on Montana Avenue, power surged into their homes during a thunderstorm on May 26, burning out light bulbs and expensive appliances.

Robert Heckler lost his freezer, stove, dishwasher and even his air conditioning.

“It was overcurrenting in the neighborhood,” Heckler said. “People’s stuff was starting to burn out – mine included!”

And it didn’t happen just once.

Saul Zeledon says another power surge hit on Tuesday, May 31. This time, there was no storm.

“I keep telling (my wife) the first day, ‘if this happen, I have a bad feeling it’s going to happen again,’ Zeledon said. “And guess what? It happened again.”
He says surge protectors saved some of his electronics, but he’s still out thousands of dollars – and he’s still not sure it’s safe to turn the power back on.

It seems like everyone in his neighborhood lost something. Neighbors like Heckler are worried they’ll be the ones footing the bill.

“I was adding that up this morning and I'm right at $3,000 so far,” he said. “And I don't know if I'm done yet."

Entergy said the damages were caused by a "transformer malfunctioning" and that customers who suffered damages during the apparent surges can file a claim on their website.

They also said that the necessary repairs have been made and the problem should be resolved.

Residents we spoke with are skeptical. They wonder if they should replace their appliances now, or wait until they know the problem is over and Entergy will cover the costs.

“I don’t have the kind of money to replace everything when something happens,” Zeledon said. “Who does right now?”

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