Tag Archive for: Comcast

Comcast Contractors Force Traffic Across Residents’ Lawns

Today, Comcast contractors occupied both sides of the street in front of my house. This blocked traffic, forcing motorists to drive onto my lawn and my neighbor’s lawn to get around them.

There were no traffic control signs. No warnings. No flag men. No supervisors. No one directing traffic. In fact, no one from the entire crew even seemed to be around … until I started taking pictures. Then I was swarmed.

Pictures of Incident Occurring around 11AM Today

Here’s what I found at the end of my driveway.

No room to park. No problem. New York chutzpah comes to Houston.

As we teach kids in driver’s ed, this is called “driving on the wrong side of the road.”

Police give tickets for it. It illustrates a cavalier attitude toward public safety. Not to mention contempt for the people Comcast hopes will someday buy its services.

But I guess Comcast doesn’t care. They had no supervisors onsite. If you don’t see it, you don’t have to report it.

The trailer contained pipe for the hydro-excavation truck in the background.
Opposite angle shows a second hydro-excavation truck. Noise from these trucks reached 96 decibels. Exposure to that level for more than 30 minutes is considered dangerous and can cause hearing loss.
When I asked the lady in this car not to drive on my lawn, she turned around. But other drivers just zoomed around me in frustration without stopping.

In fairness, when I told the Comcast contractors to move their trucks, they did. But it’s sad that I should have had to tell them. They had no name badges, no ID and offered no apology.

Had I not questioned the employees, I never would have known from the logos on their trucks that they were affiliated with Comcast.

The subcontractor blocking both sides of the street.

City Still Says It has Received No Comcast Complaints

Ironically, while I was downloading the images from my Nikon, I got an email from Jessica Beemer, Dave Martin’s Chief of Staff, saying yet again that the City had received NO COMPLAINTS re: Comcast. I responded, “Let me be the first then.”

Please follow these procedures if you see concerning behavior or experience damage from Comcast. The house you save could be your own. I reported this incident to multiple people in multiple places: the City, Comcast, Aspen, and Aspen’s parent Company.

No Warning Within 72-Hours

Our only warning that Team Comcast would be in the neighborhood was a door hanger delivered months ago. Those warnings are supposed to be within 72 hours.

Attention Comcast Shareholders

But in this case, Comcast was a loser, too. My neighbor was hosting a luncheon today for 25 people. Oops. Why alienate one potential customer when you can alienate 25 at once?

The neighbor and I haven’t been able to see if someone broke our irrigation systems yet because we’re still under a no watering ban due to the drought. But if they did break them, I think I’ll get angry.

Seriously though, what’s a sprinkler head and some ruts in your lawn compared to some of the horror stories I’ve heard. I talked to several people in Bear Branch with more than a quarter million dollars worth of sewer damage to their homes.

Another lady had her electricity cut. The resulting power surge knocked out a new heating/ac system, a computer, and a double oven. It also fried the circuits in her home.

The Comcast contractor said not to file a claim, that they would pay for it. A month later, they changed their minds and told her to file a claim with her own insurance company. Her insurance company asked, “Why did you wait a month?” Her insurance company also said it could take 1-2 years to work this out. Meanwhile, she’s paying CenterPoint $500 per month to run a temporary electric line to her house.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/3/2023

2257 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Where, How to Report Comcast Damage

Since posting about the threat to public safety posed by the Comcast installation in Kingwood, I have received feedback from dozens of damaged residents and their HOAs. However, the people responsible for safety at Comcast don’t seem to be hearing about all of the damages. Or if they hear, they won’t admit it.

Example: Despite my verifying a gas-line break onsite with FIVE independent sources (the homeowner, CenterPoint, HFD, Aspen and Hydroz), a VP at Comcast in another city insisted the line wasn’t broken; that it was just a near miss. Why? Some possibilities.

  • Comcast’s subcontractors sometimes encourage residents not to report damage.
  • Employees rarely like to report bad news to their employers; it makes them look bad. Ditto for subcontractors. When it comes to protecting your job security, unreported damage and safety issues are as good as not having accidents in the first place.
  • Alternatively, residents may not know where to report damage. Many residents claim Comcast and Aspen did not give them that information.

Regardless, it’s clear (to me at least) that Comcast’s damage-reporting system isn’t working. To eliminate the possibilities above, let me try to explain where and how to report damage.

Proper Channels For Reporting Damage/Problems

Here is what I have pieced together through talks with the City of Houston, Comcast and Aspen leaders.

Step 1: Email Aspen at:

Aspen_damages_kingwood@theaspencompany.com for Damages.

Xfinityinfokingwood@theaspencompany.com for other Concerns.

Or call 281-578-1000.

The companies claim you should get a response within two days, but I have talked to many people who have fallen into black holes. So also…

Step 2: Simultaneously Email the City of Houston District E Office at:


District E represents Kingwood. The City prefers email because it’s easier to search, track and forward.
In an emergency, however, you can call 832-393-3008.

Step 3: Contact Relevant Supervisors:


Jared Daughrity
Comcast Manager of Construction for Houston
8590 West Tidwell Road, Houston, TX 77040
Cell 707-758-6614

Vice President Governmental Affairs:
Ernest W Spicer Jr.
The Aspen Utility Company
10000 Richmond Ave | Suite 300
Houston, TX 77042
Mobile: 281-744-1152

Safety and Claims Manager:   
Janice Ham  
Cell # 346-257-7240

Director of Safety: 
Simon Anguiano  
Cell # 832-612-8189

Aspen’s Corporate Parent: Quanta Services

Project Director – Greg Loop      
Cell # (346) 857-7457

Construction Manager – William Brillhart  
Cell # (346) 254-3314

Shuffled Off to a Subcontractor?

Comcast and Aspen use many subcontractors, especially for hydro-excavation. If one damages your property, get as much information from them as possible. Take pictures. Make sure you get photos of the trucks, their license plates and the operators.

But, if they tell you not to report the damage and that they will handle the repairs, report the problem anyway. Especially in that case. Someone’s likely trying to conceal damage from the City or supervisors. Many people have not reported problems and regretted it.

In such instances, I have heard reports of shoddy repairs by unqualified, unlicensed people without the proper permits. The companies involved may be trying to save money, bypass city inspections, or make their safety records look better.

Contact Numbers for Other Utilities Impacted by Comcast

If Comcast/Aspen cuts into one of your utility lines:

For cable tv/internet, call:

  • Comcast: 1-800-934-6489
  • AT&T Uverse 1-800-288-2020
  • Suddenlink 1-877-794-2724
  • EnTouch/Astound 1-888-765-6461
  • Tachus 1-832-791-1100

For gas or electric:

  • To report a suspected natural gas leak, immediately leave your home, go to a safe location and call 911 and then CenterPoint’s natural gas Leak Emergency Hotline: 713-659-2111 or 888-876-5786.
  • For electric-line cuts: Call 911 and report to CenterPoint Energy immediately at 800-332-7143.

For more information visit CenterPoint’s “Reporting Page.”

Getting No Response or the Runaround?

If all else fails, contact:

Administration and Regulatory Affairs
City of Houston Department of Utility Regulation
611 Walker, Houston TX 77002

Better Business Bureau


Federal Communications Commission

1-888-225 5322.

A Word About Insurance

The safest bet? Call your insurance agent before Aspen and its subs start digging near you. Find out what your exposure is.

Homeowner insurance won’t necessarily cover damage caused by a negligent party. Unless you have an endorsement for your lawn or landscaping, your insurance company will likely only reimburse you for damage caused during covered peril events. Covered perils are listed in your policy (for example, fire).

So, the only compensation you get may be from the people who caused the damage.

For purposes of determining fair compensation, keep in mind that the property should be restored to the principle of indemnity. That’s the way it was immediately before the damage occurred, not necessarily like new. With that in mind…

Take Plenty of “Before and After” Photos

Many residents say that Comcast and their subs are denying claims based on alleged “pre-existing” damages. Or they may just say, “It’s just not our fault.” So remember to take plenty of before and after photos in case you decide to press your claim through the courts.

Good luck. None of the companies or government entities involved monitor social media. So, to make sure you are being treated fairly, start with the channels they set up. Vent later if you can’t get satisfaction.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 11/2/2023

2256 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.

Feedback on Comcast Post Shows Public-Safety Threat Widespread

After posting about the public-safety threat created by Comcast and its subcontractors yesterday, I received feedback from more than 70 people. The comments show that the safety threats are widespread and ongoing. They include:

  • Broken gas, electrical, water and sewer lines
  • Holes left open and unfenced for weeks
  • Unreported repairs by unlicensed, unqualified people

The comments below paint a picture of a cavalier attitude toward damage, incompetence, training and safety. That attitude is a public-safety threat in itself.

Reader-supplied photo shows Comcast contractor doing Wallenda imitation.

Comments totaled more than 40 pages, so I will summarize them below (including a couple received before the post). My apologies in advance if I left your comment out. Many were redundant. Let’s look at the bright side first.

Two, Tongue-in-Cheek, Positive Comments

Two people actually made semi-positive comments, although I suspect they were tongue in cheek.

One said that when Team Comcast killed a tree on his neighbor’s property, it gave him more sunlight.

And a repair man said he was making thousands of dollars fixing damage caused by Comcast, Aspen Utilities, and their subcontractors.

But the rest of the comments were unquestionably negative.

Gas, Electricity, Sewer, Water, Communication Lines Cut

One resident said, “They have been hitting everything in their path: water, sewer, and gas. We know for a fact they never requested 811 to mark any lines before they began work. This resulted in 100+ gas-line ruptures.”

Another said, “Thankfully, they’re finished in [my village]. I think. During their time here, I am aware of FIVE instances that they cut into gas lines.”

Yet another lamented, “…most of us are tired of having our yards torn up and our utilities being taken out of service by the irresponsible and incompetent contractors… I’ve seen or heard of gas lines being cut, water pipes breaking, irrigation systems being torn up and the internet that is already in place having lines cut.”

Another: “…if you have to dig and you can’t see, that’s one thing, but when you can SEE it, that’s just stupid. The stories I’ve heard are very costly and numerous.”

Another: “They left a giant hole in my yard and destroyed everyone’s fences. They are literally falling over. … They broke my neighbor’s plumbing. A real **** show. Not a pun.”

Another: “They hit my sewer line. And they hit a gas line a few streets down from me. They also cut my Tachus line TWICE!”

Another: “They … cut thru my TV line.”

Attempted Intimidation, Broken Promises

Aspen Utilities, Comcast’s main contractor, has tried to use the police to coerce terrified residents into cooperating with them. But in at least one case it backfired.

One resident wrote: “They called the police on me because I refused to let them in my backyard. [I wanted to talk to a supervisor first] so I could let them know all the damage they did. A red-haired punk called the police. When the officer got there, he was told (by Vincent with Aspen) to scare and intimidate me.”

“Well, guess what the officer did?” the resident continued. “He let me know that he was definitely not there to scare or intimidate me and that he has received many calls about homeowners being frustrated with the damage Aspen has done.”

“I took the officer to my back and side yard. He saw the unsecured green box with protruding wires; a clearly marked grave where they dug up our pet; and damage to our fences, trees and lawn.”

Then Aspen backtracked. “Miraculously, an Aspen supervisor arrived quickly and was in disbelief about what had been done,” said the resident. “[The supervisor] promised to have a crew come out and repair the damage. Weeks passed, no one called or came. Then a man showed up with no ID and wanted in my back yard. I refused. A lady with him got out of the truck and interpreted for him. I asked for the name of his supervisor and about a week later Fransisco came out.”

“Of course, he denied most of the damage, stated that their boring machine only parks on the street, and he had no idea why it was parked in my side yard for days. Fransisco promised that the damage would be repaired. That was about a month and a half ago. And we haven’t heard back since,” said the resident.

Another resident said, “I have damage to my yard, fences, and trees from Aspen. I can’t tell you how many phone calls made, emails sent, photos taken, visits from Aspen management/supervisors, posts on social media, etc. Aspen busted a water line while digging in my yard. There has been so much damage in our subdivisions.”

He continued, “Aspen will not correct damage they have done. I was told by a supervisor that they have the blessing from COH and all HOAs. It appears that they aren’t held accountable for their ongoing destruction and damage.” Editor’s note: Aspen most assuredly does NOT have the blessing of all HOAs.

Unreported Problems, Unlicensed Repairs Infuriate Inspector

One resident reported that, “In late September, we returned from being out of town and upon the very first flush of a toilet, the sewer line backed up into our house, flooding the master toilet area etc. … They said that yes, they had cut the sewer line while doing whatever it is they were attempting to do. … We only prayed that they actually knew what they were doing and this was a permanent fix. I guess time will tell.”

Another said, “They busted our water line and I’m not sure who repaired it. We weren’t home at the time so I don’t know. Our water bill has gone up significantly since this happened (with no difference in usage.) I surely hope it was repaired properly. When I brought this up to Francisco, he just said it happens a lot and it’s not a big deal.”

Based on a third report, those hopes may be unfounded. A third resident complained, “Two weeks ago, they began on our street. By that night, sewage was backing up in our home and several others’ homes. They said they would repair damages and we would be compensated. Fast forward. They did a horrible, shoddy, patch job that we refused and requested a licensed plumber. Today, the City came to inspect. The inspector asked me what happened, and I made him aware.”

“I showed him pictures of their repairs all over town,” said the resident, “and he was very upset. He asked for me to collect names, pictures, and addresses. He said they will be fined for every picture and address we can report. He said if a licensed plumber doesn’t make the correct repair, Kingwood will have a horrible sewage and plumbing issue that will make our property values plummet.”

The resident continued. “The City had no idea [Comcast contractors] had been hitting any water or sewer lines. He was very upset because they are, by law, supposed to report the damages, and a licensed plumber must make the repairs. When the repairs are complete, he said, the City comes and inspects them. He said what they are doing is against the law and cutting corners.”

Lengthy Delays, No Warnings as Promised

Comcast and its contractors are supposed to warn people when they will start work in neighborhoods. Even though Aspen says they distribute door hangers telling people when they will start, many residents claim they have received no warning.

In my case the start time was off by a month. The warnings also don’t explain that there may be lengthy pauses in construction, effectively creating two or more phases, months apart. Aspen has been in my neighborhood for TEN months.

One resident said, “They came out in July and put flags in my yard. Here it is in October and they are just now returning to do the work.”

Another complained “On my street, I am next in line on Monday. The work was started in July!” (Four months ago.)

A third said, “My biggest complaint is that we had zero information prior to the project getting underway about what exactly was being done, which contractors were responsible for doing what aspects of the project, and more important, what they were not allowed to do, such as parking in driveways and leaving unfilled holes. It would have been nice to get a heads up a day ahead that they would be working in our yards especially if you have dogs.”

Another said he felt as if he was a captive of Aspen’s unpredictable schedule. They came in his yard without notice and left gates open, allowing his dog to wander away.

Unfilled Holes Left Open for Months, Some Cause Injuries

Aspen contractors excavate holes to identify the location of other utilities so that Aspen can avoid them when installing Comcast lines. Aspen is supposed to cover them with plywood and surround them with orange construction fencing until they are refilled after the installation. But many residents report that they don’t.

One said, “Our lawn guys fell in a 9-foot hole [Aspen and its Contractors] did not cover. Both had to go to emergency. They contacted the lady from Aspen, who called them once and crickets after that.”

Another also reported a worker falling in an open hole: “…it was like a cartoon with the guy walking over an open manhole cover. He went in and was holding himself up by his arms and feet weren’t touching.”

Lengthy delays between the excavation and installation increase the safety risk. One lady reported two holes in her backyard for 2.5 months that her dog was beginning to enlarge. “To be on my little 5-house cul de sac on and off for 2-1/2 months was absurd. They needed to finish one area and move on to the next. They hit so many different lines along the way: sewer, gas, cable and probably others. I definitely think they are a threat to public safety.”

Another: “None of the holes in our backyard were ever covered or netted, and they left it like that for weeks.”

Another: “Too much damage is occurring with digging in the backyards. How many more cable internet companies will the city allow to dig in our backyards?”

Another: “There is no excuse for them not filling in holes. That crew sounded like The Three Stooges plumbing company, not very effective…and highly destructive.”

Another: “We still have holes at both sides of our backyard.”

The City of Houston’s Department of Neighborhoods levies fines up to $2,000 each for unfilled excavations. So report unfilled, unmarked holes!

Reader-supplied photo shows Comcast hole only partially covered.

Not Observing Best Practices, Lack of Supervision

One man who worked in communication construction wrote: “Where are the Comcast Field Engineers (inspectors)? I rarely see a Comcast representative in Kingwood and I’ve never seen one outside of his truck actually inspecting.”

Traffic control is non-existent,” continued the resident. “Traffic can get dicey when construction equipment is parked at the curb of a curved street. This requires driving into oncoming traffic and passing blindly with my fingers crossed. Where are their flaggers?”

But he didn’t stop there. “Construction spoils/dirt accumulates on the roadway in some areas and sure gets slick when it rains. This should be swept with a power broom by Aspen but there aren’t any inspectors to enforce it. Shouldn’t the C/O/H have an inspector watching roadway safety?”

He also pointed out other best practices being ignored.

  • Digging/Dirt work – “I’ve witnessed many pits that are six to eight feet deep. I’ve seen a few that are deeper. I haven’t seen any attention to safety. Trenches or pits or any excavation requires shoring or a step-back cut on anything deeper than five feet. Cave-ins are quick and deadly.”
  • Open pits/excavation – “If a child or anyone falls in a hole, the presence of plywood and construction netting will not hold up in court. The holes should be filled in or covered with steel plates. But that costs money.”
  • Restoration – “You’ve seen it. It’s almost nonexistent and usually substandard.”

The resident is now retired, but formerly managed construction of large communication projects from coast to coast. He added:

“I would have been fired for ever allowing this type of work.”

Communications Construction Manager

Believes Problems Rooted in Corporate Culture

One reader, whose husband worked for a Comcast competitor reported that he had seen such problems before. “My husband worked for 26 years on the construction side of Verizon and sometimes had to work alongside Comcast and the contracting companies they hired. We’re very familiar with how they work. If at a point, the contracting company realizes that something hasn’t been prepped (i.e., lines located), they should be standing up to Comcast and saying they won’t dig until that something has happened, but [in Comcast’s case] they don’t.”

Another said, “They did the cheapest job possible and cut as many corners as possible to save a dime. Now they are just feeding us all BS and giving us all the run around.”

One of my neighbors, who flooded badly during Harvey, has kept smiling throughout the disastrous Comcast installation. He said, “Cue the Benny Hill soundtrack when Comcast trucks show up.”

For More Information on How, Where to Report Damage

Comcast and the City claim they aren’t hearing about damage from Kingwood residents. How can you make sure the right people hear about what Comcast and its contractors did to you? See this post or click on the picture below.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/29/2023

2252 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.


When Does an Amenity Become a Threat to Public Safety?

I have received a flood of complaints recently about a threat to public safety: the Comcast/Xfinity installation by Aspen Utilities now underway in Kingwood. Yesterday, I experienced the threat firsthand when an Aspen crew cut into a neighbor’s CenterPoint gas line. Ironically, the CenterPoint line had already been exposed and identified. Fire department and CenterPoint personnel were shocked and shaking their heads in disbelief.

Sadly, this was not an isolated instance. It raises questions about the competence of the installers and whether having a third internet provider in a crowded utility easement is a threat to public safety.

A Brutal Wake-Up Call

Yesterday morning, I heard a noise near my driveway. Upon investigation, I found two fire trucks, EMS and CenterPoint had sealed off my entire block (near Kingwood High School). Aspen had cut into a CenterPoint gas line. The scene looked like this.

Aspen truck in foreground. Emergency equipment stretched out for a block.
HFD ran a hose to the gas-line break. Traffic in background was stopped then turned around.
Contractors were standing well back from break on opposite side of street. Note more emergency equipment down the street.
Hydro-excavation trucks like these locate and expose other utility lines so companies like Aspen can dig around them.

The crew of the hydro-excavation truck above had located the gas line and exposed it after digging a 20-foot trench in a neighbor’s yard. Regardless, the Aspen crew managed to cut the gas line anyway.

Fire/EMS crews responded in an abundance of caution even though no fires or injuries resulted from the incident.

The incident cut off traffic on Valley Manor for several hours. And while first responders were standing by here, they weren’t available to handle other emergencies elsewhere.

Houston EMS charges residents for call-outs. Are they charging Aspen?

Recurring Problem

If this were an isolated incident, I would be praising the first responders instead of condemning the apparent incompetence of Aspen. This isn’t the first time such an incident has happened in my neighborhood.

A CenterPoint employee told me that he often receives three to four such calls a day in Kingwood.

To me, that constitutes a threat to public safety. And raises some questions about the competence of Comcast contractors.

As an HOA board member, I’ve received dozens of complaints about Comcast/Aspen incidents and also heard from other HOA’s. Problems have included, but are not limited to:

  • Damage to sewer lines which caused sewage backups/overflows in homes
  • Damage to driveways and sidewalks
  • Water main disruption
  • Electricity disruption
  • Damage to landscaping
  • Excavations left open and unprotected (subject to fines up to $2000 by the City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods).

These are not nuisance complaints related to noise or aesthetics. With the exception of landscaping, they’re serious safety hazards.

I’ve heard of one family forced to leave their home for weeks because of damage caused by Aspen and its subcontractors. Stories pour in almost daily. Damage has run into the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.

Third Time Isn’t the Charm

Comcast’s installation is the third such project in recent years. Suddenlink, aka Optimum, upgraded its old coaxial system to optical fiber. Then Tachus entered the market. Comcast quickly followed.

No utility installation is problem-free. However, in my opinion, neither of the first two efforts seemed to cause as many problems as Comcast. Nor did the problems seem to be as severe.

Others may disagree with that. Especially those who were damaged. But based solely on my call volume and hours spent dealing with complaints, Team Comcast is the “winner” of the Kingwood Smackdown.

Damage Issues Complicated by Compensation Runaround

I have no prior experience with Comcast. Nor do I have any old scores to settle. Also know that I’m a great believer in competition. If Aspen were compensating people fairly for damage, I might be more understanding.

But another neighbor’s driveway was seriously damaged by Aspen and/or its subs. They apparently parked a hydro-vac truck on top of the drive and/or drilled under it – perhaps at different times – while the homeowner was away.

After the homeowner called numerous Comcast and Aspen people around the country, Aspen said they would pay for the damage.

Then, they sent “a former detective with police experience” to investigate. He denied the claim based on a crack that showed up in a Google Street-View photo taken before the incident. The denial happened even though an Aspen VP said in an open community meeting, “There’s no way one of those trucks should have been in a private driveway.”

The homeowner is still arguing with Aspen. Aspen refuses to acknowledge the difference between a pre-existing crack and a deeply rutted and deformed driveway with large chunks jutting up, and other areas smashed down and crumbling.

The irony is that earlier I stood on the driveway in question with that VP from Aspen when we were trying to solve another problem related to the placement of a Comcast junction box. He knows the driveway didn’t look then like it looks now.

My advice:

  • If you see Aspen coming, immediately take “before” photos of your property. You may need them in court to prove damages.
  • Notify everyone in sight if problems develop – immediately. That includes Aspen, the City, Comcast, your insurance company, your neighbors, your HOA and your lawyer.

Team Comcast seems to thrive in an environment where people don’t compare notes and see patterns.

Unanswered Questions?

Why should a utility’s right to offer service give it the right to damage property?

Why doesn’t Aspen have better supervisors in the field?

Who at Comcast is supervising Aspen?

And who at the City is supervising Comcast?

For More Information on How, Where to Report Damage

Comcast and the City claim they aren’t hearing about damage from Kingwood residents. How can you make sure the right people hear about what Comcast and its contractors did to you? See this post or click on the picture below.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/28/2023

2251 Days since Hurricane Harvey

The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.