POUND RIDGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A couple says a literally shocking discovery is forcing them from their multimillion dollar home in Westchester County.
CBS 2’s Lou Young watched Monday as Millie Mendelson packed her bags in preparation for abandoning her home.
She and her husband, Harold, said they’re being driven away by unpredictable jolts of stray voltage, and they want the owners of the substation – New York State Electric and Gas — to buy them out. The Mendelsons have filed a lawsuit against the utility for $2.3 million, which they said is the value of the home they’ve lived in for 25 years.
“My husband bought it so that he could enjoy it for the property; we bought it for the property,” Millie Mendelson told 1010 WINS. “We had barns and horses and we can’t have them anymore, can’t have animals. It’s very depressing.”
The couple described the shocks as sudden, sharp and jarring, especially around water. The couple also claims they had to euthanize their dog because the voltage made her chew the skin off her legs.
Millie Mendelson showed CBS 2’s Young what she’s going through, claiming to be shocked as CBS 2’s cameras rolled.
“Right, right there!” she said. “I used to lean on something like that, but now I use large rubber gloves that I wear. It’s like you touch a live battery.”
“You couldn’t use the pool. You were getting shocked around the property and the animals were going crazy. We couldn’t keep animals on the property,” Dr. Harold Mendelson added.
Before you ask, the house was here before the substation. In fact, the house was here before the Revolution. It is 270 years old. The stray voltage fight has been going on 15 years, and for a while the utility thought it had it solved.
Voltage blockers installed by the utility seemed to do the job, but Dr. Mendelson said the shocks started up again a couple of years ago as he and his wife began developing neurological problems. Since then, Dr. Mendelson has stopped seeing his psychiatric patients in a cottage on the property and has shut down the pool.
He said the electric company should pay for a new home.
“I’d like to cry that I can’t live here. I bought this house the day I first saw it 25 years ago. I want them to pay for my new house and they can have this one. It won’t even cost them anything. They can electrify it all they want,” Dr. Mendelson said.
“We’re moving out, we can’t stay here, it’s dangerous,” he told 1010 WINS. “They’re not competently taking care of the problem, so we’re looking for another place to live.”
A spokesman for NYSEG’s headquarters upstate said the utility complies with the state standards for monitoring stray voltage but was unable to comment on the specifics of the pending court case.
New York law requires utilities to conduct field tests to find stray voltage just once a year.
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