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After competent installation of two systems, nightmare scenario with Tesla Energy in FL – Other customers with similar experiences? Class action?

wwu123

Member
Apr 11, 2017
379
328
Silicon Valley, CA
When dealing with electrical systems, but moreso electronic circuitry - that is, the logic boards and such rather than the battery cells and fuses, even a stray bit of static electricity from a tool or technician that wasn't carefully grounded could zap any one of those tiny things on the computer boards and cause it to behave strangely, or not at all. In those cases, the complexity of those logic boards and the way they are mass manufactured makes it not worth it usually to determine what is broken on the board. And even if it is known, it's often not worth it in the field to try to repair a component on the board, but rather to replace the whole board, or the entire unit.

At best the competent service tech, having seen no obvious damage to the larger electrical systems, at best has a few routes in his service manual to replace a logic board or two, if it is warranteed. But likely to just replace the whole unit. In either case the faulty board or unit gets sent back to the manufacturer, and might possibly be refurbished in-house by a dedicated team or contractor for use in some other consumer's future warranty replacement.

That there was a large amount of stray electricity - enough to melt and fuse things - in close proximity of time and space to the Powerwall failure, it's very plausible that something got zapped that is not apparent at all with the naked eye. Though I'm not an expert, I'm pretty sure the insurance company will take it at the technician's word that the same force majeure that destroyed the Gateways also killed the Powerwall in the same event, without requiring a detailed analysis of what exactly is wrong.

I mean, not really at all different, a decade ago when my fancy high-end new fridge (about the same price as a Powerwall) started freezing up the back wall, the competent techs just basically kept replacing one or both of the two logic boards until it worked, until it didn't, and then the manufacturer just replaced the entire fridge.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,658
490
auburn, ca
Boy this thread got weird. If a car hits your car and runs are you screwed without proof another car did it? You said lightning hit, you have damage, first step is to call the insurance company. If they need proof that the walls were damaged by the strike then you go from there. How you went to fraud is puzzling...
Depends on the type of insurance you buy. I had a tumble weed hit my car on the highway. Insurance did not make me prove it happened and provide the tumbleweed. He has not even made the call.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,392
15,333
New Mexico
I've thought about this a little more. The only thing I would do before contacting insurance would be to convince myself that the installation was up to code, specifically related to grounding
 

Electrph

Member
Aug 29, 2019
425
280
Central California
to OP .. florida and much of the south is very prone to lightening strikes .. i do not believe burden of proof is on you to prove an act of nature for your home owners or other insurance .. your responsibility is to tell them what happened to best of your knowledge .. that is not any type of fraud .. if they (your ins) asks for something from Tesla etc then go from there
extreme high voltage can do crazy things ... leave some circuits unharmed while destroying others not even connected .. no logic to it at times
i and probably many on here do agree Tesla service can be very poor and appears so in this case
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,092
9,837
SF Bay Area
Agreed Insurance Claim, not warranty issue. Sounds like the nightmare was due to not going through insurance to handle. Perhaps the equipment wasn’t added to the homeowner policy?

When we lived back East the townhome building we were in got hit by lightning. Fried everyones TVs and our stereo, vcr equipment plugged into that same wall area were affected too. Other appliances and lighting plugged near there were unaffected. Insurance covered damaged equipment and our other 3 neighbors were likewise covered by their insurance. As I recall it hit the buildings TV antenna which was grounded. Don’t people in lightning prone areas put up some type of grounded lightning rod to lessen the chance of damage? People use to have TV antennas but seeing as we now either have cable, satellite reception or view through an internet connection maybe homes are without that kind of protection these days. I know lighting has damaged a lot of palm trees in Florida due to their height and moisture in their trunks.
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,092
9,837
SF Bay Area
Yeah, reading this post... I feel like the first recourse would be with your Insurance company to see if they will cover the damaged ESS equipment (and possibly damaged solar equipment).

Your home policy should cover any fixtures you add. For example, it's fairly common for rooftop solar to be covered even if you do not tell your insurance agent about the change. Lightning should be a normal peril that is covered. Earthquakes unfortunately are usually excluded perils. Of course all policies are different, so you should speak with your particular agent.

But I'm also aware that certain PV+ESS applications require a rider to expressly cover the more complicated system. For example, I'm with State Farm. The agent added an express rider on my system that calls out the addition of both the PV and ESS and names those items as covered up to the purchase price (before the ITC). This added like $20 to my annual premium. Am I wasting $20 per year? Probably since California will be in a drought until the end of time with no lightning to be seen. But I was adding PG&E as a named insured anyway so I did the special ESS rider too.

We’re also with State Farm and when we got our Solar/PW system installed we immediately contacted our agent to add the equipment to our coverage. I’m sure @holeydonut was being facetious about the lightning, seeing as we all lived through last year’s lightning strikes that resulted in the three lightning complex wild fires that burned through so much of the bay area here. Our system was being installed during then too. Crazy year.
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,833
1,212
East Bay NorCal
We’re also with State Farm and when we got our Solar/PW system installed we immediately contacted our agent to add the equipment to our coverage. I’m sure @holeydonut was being facetious about the lightning, seeing as we all lived through last year’s lightning strikes that resulted in the three lightning complex wild fires that burned through so much of the bay area here. Our system was being installed during then too. Crazy year.

Quite the opposite... people in California freak out when they see lightning. It sparks (pun) huge disaster and the power goes out and the state catches on fire.

In some areas of the Midwest nobody really cares if there is a lightning storm. Some houses even have lightning rods on the roofs to handle the frequent strike potential in a managed way. If my house was struck by lightning in some cases, I could see how such a boring event could not even be fathomed as a reason to call my insurance company.

If lightning struck near my home and blew out power lines and a transformer... I feel like that’s a reason to call my insurance if electronic devices in my house exploded. But I think that’s why OP hasn’t called his insurance... he hasn’t seen the damage to warrant the claim. And Tesla has not produced evidence his PW’s or gateway were lightning damaged.

personally I think he should call his insurance anyway.
 
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qdeathstar

Completely Serious
May 17, 2019
3,149
2,182
VB
Lightning strikes find a path to ground the lowest resistance way. It isn’t weird that none of you other electronics or house wiring was fried but your solar is because the there wasn’t current flow throughout the house. No current flow, no damage. The current flow was along the path to ground. Eg your solar system.

im not really sure what your issue is. Can you prove it isn’t lightening? If you can’t prove it’s not, why do you expect Tesla to prove it is?

how insurance companies prove it’s not lightning is to look at the radar on the day the damage was supposed to have happened and check for storms. No storms no lightening. Maybe you can do the same 👍

You didn’t have insurance?
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,833
1,212
East Bay NorCal
Read the OP again

He said the following text (I wish he didn't use triple-double-negatives, but whatever). He thinks the evidence of damage is ambiguous, and wants Tesla to provide some proof that lightning may be the culprit. Once he has the evidence he could feel more confident pursuing an insurance claim.

I've spent literally an hour explaining to Tesla (and to the new rotating service technician du jour which changes week to week) that no one in fact has proven what is wrong with the powerwall and that there is no unambiguous evidence that it was damaged from lightning. From that point forward, Tesla did not want to repair the powerwall, or even send anybody out to diagnose it, but they were more than happy to sell me a new one for full price plus installation, and take the old one off my hands giving me nothing for the damaged or dysfunctional one. I said no thanks, and that I wanted an actual diagnosis of the powerwall and proof that it was damaged from lightning. They pretty much declined to do that and essentially are now refusing any assessment of the powerwall other than simply my anteing up $11,000.

So people here on TMC are smartly telling him to go talk to his insurance agent anyway. But I'm also willing to empathize with the OP that he really wants evidence before going to his insurance agent. Because where he's from... some insurance claim on electronics (even if they are super expensive) should be visibly damaged in order to feel confident he'll get a successful claim instead of being accused of fraud.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,392
15,333
New Mexico
He said the following text

August 13, 2020. Somehow – and don't ask me how this works – a lightning strike on the back Powerline that feeds both houses took out the Gateway computers in both systems.

I was able to inspect the wiring in the two Gateway computer systems and sure enough the lines in the computer that monitor the 240 grid voltage were fried and fused.
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,833
1,212
East Bay NorCal
Yeah, and he wants Tesla to make an independent assessment that the 'fried and fused' was likely caused by the lightning. But for some reason Tesla won't provide that narrative for him to then take to his insurance company.

You do realize we're saying the same thing... he should go file a insurance claim. We're splitting hairs on what the evidentiary threshold is for OP to get a successful claim. Problem is we're on some random web forum, and OP is the one who needs to file the claim and see if he can collect some money for his damages caused by lightning.
 

h2ofun

Active Member
Aug 11, 2020
2,658
490
auburn, ca
Yeah, and he wants Tesla to make an independent assessment that the 'fried and fused' was likely caused by the lightning. But for some reason Tesla won't provide that narrative for him to then take to his insurance company.

You do realize we're saying the same thing... he should go file a insurance claim. We're splitting hairs on what the evidentiary threshold is for OP to get a successful claim. Problem is we're on some random web forum, and OP is the one who needs to file the claim and see if he can collect some money for his damages caused by lightning.
Someone asked an interesting question, does he have insurance?
 
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SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,392
15,333
New Mexico
But for some reason Tesla won't provide that narrative for him to then take to his insurance company.

Let's say lightning strikes near my house, fries the GE load center, and then my Samsung TV, my Westinghouse fridge, and my Apple computer all die. Will you be surprised that none of GE, Samsung, Westinghouse or Apple agree to take apart the devices on their dime and issue an expert opinion that the lightning strike was the cause ?
 

holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,833
1,212
East Bay NorCal
Let's say lightning strikes near my house, fries the GE load center, and then my Samsung TV, my Westinghouse fridge, and my Apple computer all die. Will you be surprised that none of GE, Samsung, Westinghouse or Apple agree to take apart the devices on their dime and issue an expert opinion that the lightning strike was the cause ?

Dude, stop arguing with me. I agree with you that he should file a claim. I agree with you Tesla isn't going to come out of pocket for a repair. I agree with you the insurance company (assuming his home is insured) should help with this.

But what I'm willing to do is to try to empathize with the OP on why he's trying to find evidence to take to insurance company. Using your analogy, if you went to your insurance company with the claim that your fancy electronics all died from a lightning strike, you would still at least need to somehow prove there was lightning near your home at the time of the incident. The insurance company isn't just going to blindly pay because you have some busted gear.

Edit: I also agree with the general sentiment that it is odd where OP implied suing Tesla is somehow a next logical step. This whole situation is weird.
 
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Electrph

Member
Aug 29, 2019
425
280
Central California
Dude, stop arguing with me. I agree with you that he should file a claim. I agree with you Tesla isn't going to come out of pocket for a repair. I agree with you the insurance company (assuming his home is insured) should help with this.

But what I'm willing to do is to try to empathize with the OP on why he's trying to find evidence to take to insurance company. Using your analogy, if you went to your insurance company with the claim that your fancy electronics all died from a lightning strike, you would still at least need to somehow prove there was lightning near your home at the time of the incident. The insurance company isn't just going to blindly pay because you have some busted gear.

Edit: I also agree with the general sentiment that it is odd where OP implied suing Tesla is somehow a next logical step. This whole situation is weird.
i think OP was just venting all his/her frustrations with tesla energy .. which is understandable .. but most of what was in orig post has little to nothing to do with issue at hand and just serves to complicate the process of filing a claim
edit: yes odd .. we are prob missing some info here
also looking at OP title "class action" .. suit for Tesla's generally poor customer service or suit for serv post lightening strike ?

And OP seems long gone and we are just speculating and arguing with each other ... the internet is awesome 🤣
 
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holeydonut

Supporting Member
Jun 27, 2020
1,833
1,212
East Bay NorCal
I'm responding to your post that said (my italics)

---
Somewhat tangentially, I don't understand why Tesla took it upon themselves to replace the gateways. Gateways yes but PW no is not making sense to me.


Well, I think Powerwalls are unique (and expensive) enough that someone at Tesla should be able to say something to the effect that "it looks like lightning may have fused links in this customer's gateway". Like Samsung isn't going to give two damns about their TV not turning on after a lightning storm, but Tesla should be able to say something to help this guy out. Suing Tesla to perform seems like an odd turn of events though.

Anyway, I just hope this guy has insurance. Although my experience with insurance and Acts of God type of events is terrible. I used to live in the Midwest... we had a tornado literally go through our apartment complex. Some neighbors couldn't even get their renters insurance to cover personal property damage because their policies only covered fires, hail, but not tornados. My roommates car was also completely jacked, but his comprehensive insurance also didn't cover inclement weather events.

That lame-ass Geico Gecko, and stupid Liberty Mutual Emu, and Aaron Rogers don't actually help pay claims... so sneaky.
 

SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
9,092
9,837
SF Bay Area
The fact he saw the fried wiring in the Gateway (assume has photos of) would satisfy me that there was a lightning strike and that other components could have been affected. Tesla might have repaired the Gateway for him more as goodwill and to get him up and running again but later finding out further damage had been done to the more pricy PWs. Sounds to me the Gateways should have been turned over to insurance as well with the PWs a supplemental claim. I would be honest with the insurance company and tell them how this transpired and Tesla was only willing fix the GWs with anything else expected to be covered by homeowners insurance due yo the nature of the cause.
Quite the opposite... people in California freak out when they see lightning. It sparks (pun) huge disaster and the power goes out and the state catches on fire.

In some areas of the Midwest nobody really cares if there is a lightning storm. Some houses even have lightning rods on the roofs to handle the frequent strike potential in a managed way. If my house was struck by lightning in some cases, I could see how such a boring event could not even be fathomed as a reason to call my insurance company.

If lightning struck near my home and blew out power lines and a transformer... I feel like that’s a reason to call my insurance if electronic devices in my house exploded. But I think that’s why OP hasn’t called his insurance... he hasn’t seen the damage to warrant the claim. And Tesla has not produced evidence his PW’s or gateway were lightning damaged.

personally I think he should call his insurance anyway.
missed my point I think…my comment about facetious was specifically related to your saying that California was in drought to the end of time and lightning would be no where to be seen. To anyone reading this who was not in California during the bay fires last year or hadn’t followed, California had dry lightning strikes which didn’t need a typical midwest/east coast storm to cause some of California’s largest wildfires. Lightning definitely was seen here. That’s all.
 
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SaveOurPlanet

Member
Jan 6, 2018
241
146
San Francisco
The fact he saw the fried wiring in the Gateway (assume has photos of) would satisfy me that there was a lightning strike and that other components could have been affected. Tesla might have repaired the Gateway for him more as goodwill and to get him up and running again but later finding out further damage had been done to the more pricy PWs. Sounds to me the Gateways should have been turned over to insurance as well with the PWs a supplemental claim. I would be honest with the insurance company and tell them how this transpired and Tesla was only willing fix the GWs with anything else expected to be covered by homeowners insurance due yo the nature of the cause.

missed my point I think…my comment about facetious was specifically related to your saying that California was in drought to the end of time and lightning would be no where to be seen. To anyone reading this who was not in California during the bay fires last year or hadn’t followed, California had dry lightning strikes which didn’t need a typical midwest/east coast storm to cause some of California’s largest wildfires. Lightning definitely was seen here. That’s all.
We do not have frequent lightning strikes like elsewhere, but we do have them through out the year every year, people just don't notice it. I'd been told not to go down the slope and the lifts were stopped due to lightnings several times in the Sierra in the Winter, I'd also been trying to stay lower than boulders around me during Summer and Fall hiking in the Sierra. Yes, a common cause of wild fire in California is lightning.
 

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