Action13

Low hanging utility lines present hazard

Friday, August 24, 2012

They may not be pretty to look at but utility lines play an important role in our lives. But what can you do when the lines are so low you can reach out and touch them?

For most of us utility lines are mostly out of sight, out of mind, but for some Clear Lake residents a utility line was in the line of sight and they had no success getting it fixed.

Utility lines have their place, but this one was placed so low it could easily be touched by an adult. It's not something you want to see while enjoying your back yard.

Condo owner Barbara Wilson said, "They seemed low to me."

The low hanging line behind Wilson's home got lower as it made its way across this condo cluster's row of back yards. Home owners knew this should be higher off the ground but had no luck getting it fixed, so they called Action 13.

At first residents thought the low hanging lines belonged to Comcast, so we called the cable company. A technician came out, only to find the line belonged to the telephone company.

So we called AT&T and a technician came out, and told us the phone line actually belongs to Verizon. Twenty-four hours after we contacted Verizon, a technician came out and fixed the problem.

Wilson said, "I am just happy that someone took notice of it and responded so promptly in taking care of the situation."

While the line has been raised, the incident raises the question, who do you call if there is a utility line problem?

Alicia Dixon with CenterPoint advised, "If they are in doubt of who owns a line, they really need to call in the professionals."

Dixon says CenterPoint is a good starting point for utility line complaints. CenterPoint owns most of the utility poles and can help figure out what company owns a problem line. The real risk, according to Dixon, is trying to do something about it yourself.

"There really is no way to tell whether it is a power line or a cable line or whether a power line is energized or not," she said. "So it is always best to be safe rather than sorry."

We found out that typically the lowest line on a utility pole is not a power line. Instead it is usually a communications line. Either way, don't touch them, even if they are hanging very low. We're told most communication lines have a sticker that identifies the company that owns them.

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