July 28, 1996 in Nation/World

Errant Kite Comes With Big Repair Bill

Compiled From Wire Services

Forget about that kite-eating tree, Charlie Brown - the kite-eating power lines near Larry Cobb’s house are far more upsetting.

Cobb’s 5-foot-tall kite took a dive on a breezy day last month and hit a utility power transformer, causing a small fire.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. workers repaired the lines. Then they sent Cobb a bill - for $3,572.88. It was a nighttime, 12-hour job for three repairmen, the utility said.

Cobb, an unemployed warehouse worker, said he couldn’t pay.

Pacific Gas eventually relented, saying it would waive the bill because Cobb was unemployed. But spokeswoman Jeanette Valentine defended the utility’s actions.

“We’re trying to greatly discourage people from flying kites near power lines … there could have been someone hurt or killed,” she said.

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