Well color me surprised. A Houston home owner prevented an electric utility worker from installing a so-called “smart meter” by force of arms — and didn’t get arrested. WTF?
I get it. No trespassing means no trespassing. A woman’s home is her castle. Damn straight. But it’s been my understanding that utility workers can gain access to your property without permission. Here’s the statement about access to private property from Oncor, which provides electricity to 402 cities across 91 counties, making up nearly one-third of The Lone Star State’s geographic area:
Oncor’s Tariff for Retail Delivery Service section 5.4.8 from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (see page 55 of the PUCT Tariff) provides us the right to access, service and maintain our equipment. Oncor is authorized to access property as part of our responsibility for providing safe, efficient delivery of electric service. Oncor’s duly authorized representatives have the right to access your property for the purpose of restoring service; to inspect, erect, install, maintain, upgrade, convert, remove or replace wiring; read the meter and to perform other activities necessary to provide service. Oncor will come on your property only when it is necessary.
So, it seems the electric company is well within its rights to enter a Houston home owner’s property without permission. Which would make Thelma Tarmina’s [sp.?] armed defense illegal. And doubly illegal, given that she pmost probably wasn’t facing a lethal threat.
Anyway, do you think Ms. Tarmina was within her rights to use her firearm to chase off the utility worker? Would you do the same?