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Homeowner goes 8 months without water service until WCPO 9 answers SOS

Crews finally repair broken line
Posted at 6:55 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 18:55:22-04

ELSMERE, Ky. — Imagine eight months without water service. Imagine showering yourself through the winter with bottled water.

An Elsmere dad said contractors for Duke Energy broke his water line and then blamed someone else for the leak.

After WCPO 9 News made calls, everything changed Thursday afternoon.

“It got fixed. I'm happy," said Don Horton, smiling behind a mask in his front yard.

The only water dripping around his Elsmere home was rain.

Two hours later, Northern Kentucky Water District buried frustration over a leak and $4,000 worth of repairs left undone for eight months.

"I called Duke. They told me to call KS. I called KS and they referred it to their legal team, and it's been a circus ever since,” said Horton. “No answers."

Last summer Duke Energy sent contractors from KS Energy to upgrade gas lines. Before they finished, water erupted in Horton's driveway.

"I absolutely knew it was them,” Horton said. “I never had a water problem before."

His $100-a-month water bill surged over $800.

"I told my husband, ‘I think they must have done something to Doug's water line because it wasn't leaking before yesterday and today it is,’" said Horton’s neighbor, Sharon.

Since September, Horton's 12- and 14-year-old sons lived with their grandparents. Their single dad living on disability checks couldn't afford repairs, and until he wrote WCPO 9 News, the companies involved refused.

"It's wrong,” said Sharon. “If he was wealthy, he would have just gone ahead and done it. But when you're low-income, you can't do things like that."

When we called Duke Energy and told them all Horton had gone through, they thanked us, investigated and promised to repair the line.

Within two hours, the guys in yellow brought new copper and water flowed in Horton's sink again.

“You did the story and lit the fire,” Horton said. “I'm glad it's fixed. I'm not going to complain about anything now."