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A tree is on the wires from the pole. How many diff. people do I call?

A tree is on the wires from the pole. How many diff. people do I call?

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Old 12-17-19, 07:36 AM
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A tree is on the wires from the pole. How many diff. people do I call?

There's a big branch that's hung over our wires coming from the street. For years I 'wanted' to cut it to avoid the problem I'm having now. After an ice storm, the tree snapped and the branch is on the wires coming from the street (fios and house power). I still have fios : ) and I see 2 of of the 3 electrical wires clearly disconnected at the pole side of the horizontal run from pole to house. The connection at the top of the house look intact.

Interestingly, with only 1 wire connected at the pole, we have some power! Although the lights were flickering a little so I just turned off the main breaker.

Any idea / recommendation for who to call?
  • The power company? 'the wire is on your property sir'
  • A tree company? 'the tree is touching wires, we don't touch that'
  • An electrician? 'you have to get the tree off the wires before we can restring it' or 'it's disconnected at the pole', you have to call power company?

and / or trying to coordinate them to be there in the right order / at same time? seems like a nightmare.

This is why I like being a DIY. Don't have to rely on anyone.

I kinda want to try to remove some of the branch to lighten the load so fios doesn't stop working / I have to call them also! : )
 
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12-17-19, 07:40 AM
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I would start by calling the city light dept and report it. See what they say.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 07:40 AM
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I would start by calling the city light dept and report it. See what they say.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 07:48 AM
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In Philly, the electric company will take care of a tree that's planted on a sidewalk, but not sure about on someone's lawn or yard. I'm taking it's on your lawn or yard? I would start with a call to them since it affects the power line. They would be able to tell you right away who to call if not them.
A tree company would do it too. I'm sure they deal with power lines all the time. I don't think an electrician would be the one to call since the electric company deals with outside lines, not electricians, AFAIK.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 08:16 AM
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Any idea / recommendation for who to call?
The power company? 'the wire is on your property sir'
I don't know if this is a hypothesis or a recap of an actual phone conversation, but would certainly hope the former. I can't imagine anyone at the power company minimizing this, but if they did or do I would take it up the ladder to a supervisor. No way that you, a tree company, or even an electrician should be messing with those lines. We're out in the sticks, had a tree fall on the wires across our property last spring, and in less than an hour of my phone call there were two utility crews and one of their subcontracted tree company crews on site to remedy the situation. Granted, nothing more than a bit of wind the evening the tree came down on our wires, nothing that caused widespread problems, whereas in your situation there are likely numerous outages from the ice storm, so the response might not be immediate, but should not be ignored.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 08:50 AM
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THANKS EVERYONE! Yes, those quotes were hypethetical - I'm just jaded and envisioning what the power company will say.

Shadeladie... for me having never dealt with these things - just seeing others have similar issues in the area (a wooded suburban area), I've heard 2nd hand that the power company responsibility ends at the pole.

I do have a call out to the power company. Even with the icing around here, they said someone will be out by noon. maybe just someone to assess.

Just curious how it might play out.

Calling 2 tree companies, they weren't sure either. They said wait till power company comes out and see what they say : )

one tree comapny thought the power company would have power company tree guys cut the tree off the line then power company reconnects at street

another said the power company might disconnect the power at the pole then my tree guys remove tree from wire then power company comes back.

Thanks all. I guess i have to wait to see how things play out with power company. Just trying to get a jump on the process so we're not out of power too long.

Again, interesting - from what I can see / 99% sure... 2 of the 3 lines are hanging loose at the pole. So that 1 connected wire is likely hot and the other side of the power that we did have is through the earth ground!? But yeah, I just turned off the main breaker - light were flickering at times. Computers were rebooting / likely not good for them.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 10:24 AM
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Sounds like a no-brainer, your power is off, call the power company and let them discover the cause and repair the problem.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 10:36 AM
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May be a no brainer for some people.Because of the power outage is a branch still on the wires which disconnected two of the three at the pole.I donít think I need them to tell me why I donít have power.

Itís thinking theyíre going to repair it And being mistaken Because itís between the pole and the house.

So rather than wait for them to show up to say get a tree guy I thought Iíd be proactive. But in fact it seems to be what I Gotta do is just wait for the power companyBut Ďlet them repair ití. I hope will be the answer but I wanted to post here to see if I am too optimistic/who should I start lining up to do additional work
 
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Old 12-17-19, 12:05 PM
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I'm pretty sure the electric company is responsible for wires up to the house, not just the pole. They'll generally trim branches to free or repair the wires. What I'm not sure about is if there would be a charge for trimming the tree.
I don't think NJ is all that different from PA.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 01:07 PM
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Thanks, I heard otherwise but only word of mouth / from when a tree falls taking out the cable from house to pole. - from the pole to the house is on you.And I know when Iíve seen tree guys trimming branches along the power lines on the street at least one time I hit them up to trim that one branch that I always thought was hanging perilously close to the wires. But they said they couldnít do it because it was on my property

still waiting on the power company to show at first it was 1230 then 12 then 3 PM. And itís 305 now. But yeah I donít wanna complain to them on the hopes that theyíll be more cooperative when they do show up And maybe do more than they typically would and save me some money and time waiting for getting somebody else to do what else is needed
 
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Old 12-17-19, 01:33 PM
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I heard otherwise but only word of mouth
Well let us know. I know we're responsible for the water pipes, to and from the main, but I've never heard of this to be the case for power lines. Even the phone company was responsible for the wires outside to and from the poles and customers were responsible for inside lines.
Guess you'll find out when they show up!
 
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Old 12-17-19, 02:23 PM
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I've run into this twice before and a few times with neighbors and it's always been the power company that handles everything up to the connection on the house.
They won't cut up and take the tree if it's on your property, but they'll cut it enough to get it off the service entry wires and reconnect you.

While I'm sure it does vary, I can't imagine any power company who would let anyone else near their lines - including the overhead service entry.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 03:15 PM
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With one of the 3 wires still connected it is one of the two hots.

Current is using the ground/neutral bond in your main panel over to your water pipe as the neutral, actually finding a neutral at a neighbor's house, or is using the ground (earth; dirt; soil) as neutral actually finding neutral up the ground wire at a utility pole and onto the utility pole horizontal ground/neutral. The dirt is not that conductive so only a few amps can be drawn before significant voltage drop occurs, as evidenced by dimming and flickering of lights.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 05:59 PM
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Interestingly, with only 1 wire connected at the pole, we have some power! A
I kinda want to try to remove some of the branch to lighten the load
Bad idea -
Cutting a branch that is on a live wire in wet weather, even a single 120v leg, is just asking to get one hell of a shock.
 
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Old 12-17-19, 06:32 PM
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Ahhhhhh..... my neighbor to the south. You'll be dealing with Jersey Central. A GPU company. They are not the speediest and are working hard today. They must cut the power at the pole before anyone can do anything. They are responsible to the service hook on your house. I've been crossing paths with them today.
 
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Old 12-18-19, 11:43 AM
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THANK YOU ALL!!

After saying they'd be there at 12:30, then 12 then 3, at 4 I called again and they said they had no estimate. (I can understand - if 100 people are out of power in 1 area, they will work on that first before a single house... although I asked the phone rep if that's the way it works and she said 'I don't know how they allocate people, I just enter the ticket.... I think if they explain that to people that call to complain they are still out of power, that might help put things in perspective).

Anyway, on the way home (6PM) my wife saw a crew down the street. Asked if they were coming to us and the guy said they didn't have our ticket. He called in and said since we're right down the street, they'd take that ticket. dispatcher said OK.

by 6:20 a tree company working for the power company came. 2 guys cut the tree off the wire (mentioned it was still live but 'we know how to deal with that'. I like being helpful, the little I can be and was about to say 'feel free to leave the cuttings / I'll clean up' as the guy said 'we just cut - you have to clean up ; )

They were finished in 15? min and said they will let the power company know the wire is clear.

By 7PM, 2 power company trucks showed (1 was the guys my wife spoke to). It was a little difficult to get to the 'back' / non street side of the poles / main wires to reconnect my line to the house. They got a 2nd bucket truck to help out... they didn't finish till 9:30PM! 3 trucks, 5 guys. They mentioned the neutral snapping... good thing that happened before we left...'

Don't think they were milking the situation - there's still people without power a day later / they had other places to go I think).

I really know how to break things : ) !!

They did mention that it'd be on me if the wires came off at the house end of the run.

Hal - a neighbor who's a police officer mentioned as you did - don't go near it.
 
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Old 12-18-19, 12:56 PM
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Hal - a neighbor who's a police officer mentioned as you did - don't go near it.
Sorry, I didn't mention this because I assumed everyone knows to stay away from fallen wires, but it apparently bears repeating. Likewise, I mentioned that you, nor an electrician, nor a tree company should be messing with those lines, and, of course, a tree company was involved in the process, as I assumed they would be, but my initial comment was based on you asking who to call, and you never arbitrarily call a tree company for something like this. Rather you leave it to the power company, which uses crews that are trained to work under such circumstances. But the main point is to stay well away from down lines, as well as anything they might me in contact with such as aluminum trim, metal fences, etc. I saw a house recently where the line from the pole had come down on it, and the evidence was obvious of the electricity travelling along the aluminum eaves trough.
 
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Old 12-18-19, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by aka pedro
Hal - a neighbor who's a police officer mentioned as you did - don't go near it.
Sorry, I didn't mention this because I assumed everyone knows to stay away from fallen wires, but it apparently bears repeating.
Can't agree more.

HOT wires look EXACTLY THE SAME as safe wires


I'm not a linesman, but I climbed/roped-into and cut enough storm damaged trees working for a tree service that I respect, and identified the wires on the poles-

Guy wire
Phone line,
Cable tv
240v domestic 2 phase 200 amp (one touch from a branch COULD be a bad day)
Commercial 3 phase K-amp (one touch from a branch WILL be a bad day)
KV distribution (one touch from a branch COULD be a last-day)
 
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