Working On Utility Pole - Concerns

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Old 04-25-07, 09:39 AM
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Working On Utility Pole - Concerns

Long story short, we have a beautiful flowering dogwood growing in close proximity to our utility pole in the back yard. We received a notice that they'd be doing trimming in our neighborhood soon, and I'd rather do this job than to leave it up to some guys who likely will cut this tree WAY back. This tree kinda hides the view of the utilities, and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm sure we've all been a bit weary of those trimming crews...

The problem is that just about the only way for me to do this job is to climb the utility pole and trim from up there. The tree defnitely doesn't reach the power cable lines, but does pass over both the phone (bottom) and cable (middle) lines. The pole has pegs to climb it.

So what sort of issues might I want to look out for (other than falling). I don't plan on messing with my cable connection, but I wasn't sure if just getting onto the pole would open me to legal issues, since i believe that's technically NOT my property. I don't think the neighbors would care, they're nice people. One other big unknown for me is if the cable/telephone lines are safe to touch. Any other concerns, from both a safety and legal perspective?

Thanks In Advance!
 
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Old 04-25-07, 10:13 AM
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Stay off the pole.

In most places it is illegal for you to climb it. In all other places it is a dumb thing to do.

In fact, don't in any way raise a saw that could even come close to the wires. Hit the wrong wire and you're dead.

Leave this for the professionals.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 10:13 AM
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Well, frankly that's honestly what I'm asking for. I'd prefer not being chastised as well. However I'd certainly like to know exactly why this is "stupid". I generally try to avoid stupidity, hence making this thread BEFORE running into an unforeseen issue.

There is no way the tree can get into the power lines if that is your concern. There is a good 5ft of clearance at the closest point.

Other issues...please educate me.

Edit: If it's illegal I'll stay off it, but I still would like to trim that tree back via a ladder or something. I guess my big question is if there is any danger in getting near the cable/phone mains. I'd be pretty close to the phone especially. The branches up there are small, so I'm sure I wouldn't damage the lines.

Again, I don't want to earn a Darwin award, but I would like to know exactly what is/isn't safe to be near.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 10:20 AM
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they belong to the utility and you are trespassing on their property

your not trained in working on /around power poles

you don't have and wont be using proper safety gear

You could die or be seriously hurt

the view isn't worth it
 
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Old 04-25-07, 10:51 AM
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Around here Asplundh periodically surveys and leaves a note saying they'll be around in two weeks or whatever to do the trimming. There are numbers on the note. One is for the utility and the other is for the trimming crew boss. Call both of them and tell them you'd like the minimal job done and you'd like to be present when they are on your property.

Ask the crew boss to come back and show you exactly what would be trimmed off. Lobby him or her if you wish, you've got nothing to lose, but don't expect to gain much. They try to be reasonable but you understand the problem with NOT trimming.

For the most part they are interested in keeping all branches away from the uninsulated high-voltage lines on the pole tops. For the insulated 240V, CATV and telephone distribution they only trim if the vegetation is contacting the cables under calm conditions. That's what the guy told me. They trimmed two of my pine trees and did it respectably while I watched.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 10:58 AM
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Okay so we've established:

1) It's most likely illegal to climb the pole - I'll stay off of it.
2) I can't get into the electrical lines - You'll have to trust me on that one.
3) I'd still like to get this tree trimmed back - Unless there are safety issues from trimming near the cable/phone lines.

I could get a ladder (unfortunately not fiberglass) into a decent location to reach the area I wanted to trim from the neighbor's yard. He's also concerned about this tree getting hacked, so I know he wouldn't mind. Still, I'm not sure if safety issues exist from being near the cable/phone mains. The branches up there are relatively small, so I don't foresee any issue with branches damaging lines. I'd be about 16' up to do this work. Not insanely high, but high enough I'd like to know what I'm doing.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 11:05 AM
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lets say your trimming from the neighbors yard and a branch you trim disrupts either phone or cable service

you could be liable for some big $$$ repair costs .

they are going to trim the tree "way back" becouse they don't want to have to do it for a few years , so evan if you trim to a level acceptable to you , they still may trim it further to their standards

the whole point is to protect utility service in the event of a storm
 
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Old 04-25-07, 11:15 AM
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I ran into the same situation some time ago with a crabapple tree needing to be pruned. I called the number provided, and the tree cutting people ended up being very helpful and friendly. The foreman came out a week or so before hand. We discussed what could be done, what couldn't be done, and I asked to be there while they pruned.

All in all, it was a very good experience. I was happy with the result, and the power company got what they needed too.

Good luck! Just remember - if you're friendly, you're more likely to get friendly and helpful in return.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 11:26 AM
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I've considered that mango. Thankfully there are nothing but smallish branches there which would almost certainly have no chance of damaging anything. If there was a thick branch, I think I'd forget all about it since it's kinda tough to control much weight from a ladder.

This idea was planted by a few neighbors who have been in the area much longer than me and done their own tree trimming, noting that the crews won't touch anything as long as it's far off the high voltage lines and not touching the other lines...as confirmed by ArgMeMatey. They also noted that if you don't trim it back, the crews will take it a lot farther back (which I can completely understand - I just don't want them to). Just taking the word of neighbors, it seems like they ignore anything that's already been pruned. I'm sure the crews are smart enough to know that's less work and further trimming back an obviously pruned tree will probably just earn an earful from a picky homeowner like myself.

So I live around a bunch of vigilante tree crews..hehe. My situation differs in that the tree I'm trying to protect has it's base very near the pole, hence my original thought to just climb the pole (it would be the easiest place to work from - but that's out now). I get the impression that working around the cable/phone is *safe*, just not advised b/c you could in theory damage expensive lines. I can understand it's tough to say okay to this idea sight unseen. I just want to be sure there aren't more unknown issues like some portion of the phone system carrying significant voltage.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 11:34 AM
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Wow, that's really cool they did that Zorfdt! I fear that I'd talk with the foreman and things might not get communicated to the crew...they have a LOT of trees to prune in this old neighborhood. I guess the control freak DIY'er in me just wants to take care of it first hand.

They may still cut it back further, but at least I took a shot at getting what I wanted. I'll probably still talk to the foreman even if I do the priuning, just to have him check things and hopefully move on to the next tree.
 
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Old 04-25-07, 11:50 AM
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I am closing this post.

We do not need to go back and forth on whether the idea of climbing the pole is right or wrong (I think we all agree it if wrong), nor do we need to discuss whether or not it should be common knowledge not to.

BQuicksilver, thank you for asking before actually doing this. My suggestion is that you do nothing except call the utility and speak with them. Be present when they do their work and express your concerns, politely. In all that you do, remember, they own the wires and they have a right and a responsibility to protect them.

When all is said and done, if they have to trim the tree, it's because YOU (or the previous owner) didn't do so soon enough.
 
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