Gas Line Repair Creates Mess for Homeowner

A suburban homeowner said a major utility put his future plans on hold by leaving an eyesore on his driveway right as he was about to list his house for sale. 

Balint Mezei of Buffalo Grove told NBC 5 Responds he reported a strong outdoor odor to Nicor Gas in February. A utility crew soon responded and repaired a gas valve under his driveway. Meanwhile, a temporary patch of asphalt was poured in the driveway hole and Mezei said he was told a paving contractor would pour concrete sometime during April. 

Mezei said he made it known to the utility that he was planning to sell his house. He said he originally wanted to market his house by April 1st, but he and his wife delayed it to accommodate the repair. 

“People may drive by and may be interested in the house and then they won’t even stop if they see this,” Mezei said. 

While Mezei said he understands weather may have played a factor in how quickly his driveway would be paved, he said it still was not completely repaired by the end of April. 

Mezei said he was even considering spending his own money to pour concrete on his driveway in order to get his house on the market. According to an independent concrete expert contacted by NBC 5 Responds, Mezei’s bill could have totaled almost $3500 had he paid for it himself instead of waiting for Nicor. 

“My problem was time. I was pressed for time and they did not respond,” Mezei said. 

That’s when he sent a letter to Nicor demanding the gas utility take action. NBC 5 Responds also contacted Nicor and asked if the utility could help. 

“Interestingly enough, the following day Nicor contacted me and told me that the driveway is going to be repaired this week,” Mezei said. 

Nicor’s media relations office did not respond to our numerous calls and emails. 

However, a contractor arrived at Mezei’s address on Monday and removed the asphalt patch. The concrete was poured on Tuesday.

“This is great news and without NBC 5, I couldn’t have done it,” Mezei said. 

He said the repair was made just in time for a weekend house showing. 

It’s important to note that utilities may own rights-of-way where repairs are needed. Mezei’s section of driveway in question is located between the sidewalk and the street.

The Illinois Commerce Commission said in some cases utilities must restore landscaping as much as possible to its original condition. But it is ultimately up to consumers to contact their municipalities to see if there are rules that utilities must follow if private property is damaged. 

According to Citizens Utility Board, utility repair work is often delayed by weather conditions. CUB urges consumers to find out whether the repair is an item that could be scheduled for the spring instead of fall or winter.

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