Problem Solvers help horse owner reach settlement with PSE

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. -- Christine Cameron worried power line upgrades on her property could harm her animals.

But the Skagit County horse owner felt her fears were falling on deaf ears until the Problem Solvers got involved.

Cameron's pastoral property has a new addition from Puget Sound Energy she considers unsightly and unsafe.

"There were six cables. Now there's 24," she said.

Cameron complained to PSE and its contractor that the lines threatened to trip up her blind horse, who learned the lay of the land before the landscape changed.

"I made a promise to those guys I'd keep'em safe," she said. "That's a promise I make to my animals when I take'em."

Cameron sought $30,000 from PSE for a new fence. But she says her power struggle felt like David going after Goliath.

"One lady out in the middle of nowhere up against two huge corporations -- not just PSE, but PSE and Potelco," she said.

Cameron suspected the utility giant's strategy was to out-wait her, and she admits she came close to giving up. So the Problem Solvers confronted PSE.

"I couldn't get any cooperation from them in eight months until KOMO 4 Problem Solvers showed up, and then they started talking to us that same day," she said.

After months of nothing, Cameron received a chunky check from PSE.

"The settlement was enough where I can completely fence this (land) and make it safe. The horses will be safe," said Cameron.

As a temporary fix until the fence is built in the spring, Cameron has attached milk jugs to the cables to catch her animals' attention before they catch their necks. She may not have completely protected her property values, but says what matters most to her are her horses' happiness and welfare.

"All I wanted from PSE was enough money to keep them safe, and that's what I got," she said.

As part of the settlement, Cameron agreed not to reveal exactly how much money she received from the utility or how much she spent on attorney fees.