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Houses Are Trouble: Electrical Service Division

The ancient utility pole on the north side of our property fell over a few hours after a thunderstorm rolled through:

Fallen Utility Pole - end view
Fallen Utility Pole – end view

Fortunately, the wire clamps were upward and it just lay there without sparks or excitement. It feeds the vacant house out back, so restoring power wasn’t urgent.

Unfortunately, the lines neatly bisected Mary’s garden:

Fallen Utility Pole - garden view
Fallen Utility Pole – garden view

The utility crew arrived a few hours later, disconnected the triplex at the fallen pole, rolled it up, secured it to the source pole out front, and promised a different crew would replace the pole in a while:

Central Hudson truck - 2019-06-27
Central Hudson truck – 2019-06-27

We agreed restoring service to other folks who needed it should take priority.

Mary’s been ducking the various cable TV / phone / FiOS cables ever since.

The pole has been God’s own toothpick for quite some time, as shown by this picture from 2001:

CHGE pole - rear - top
CHGE pole – rear – top

Fortunately for us, its pole tag hadn’t fallen off in all those years:

CHGE Pole Tag - mid-north
CHGE Pole Tag – mid-north

That little tag may save us ten large during this exquisite little inconvenience …

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  1. #1 by RCPete on 2019-07-20 - 21:36

    Pacific Power has a lot of faults, but it they own a pole, they keep it working. You’ll see a truck with a pole on their trailer occasionally. OTOH, usually anything downstream of the 12.5kV/220V transformer is the customer’s responsibility. One reason why we have our power/telephone feeds underground.

    • #2 by Ed on 2019-07-21 - 07:50

      CHG&E really really wanted it to not be their problem, but I got there first! [grin]

      In the general case, they seem to own poles serving multiple customers: if your house needs an additional pole to reach your service drop, you own it. In this case, the pole originally served both our back house and the neighbor’s pool shed, with the latter disconnected before we bought this place. But CHG&E tagged the pole!

      The meter reader arrived last week and apparently hadn’t been briefed on the situation, so he had to report a downed pole (I agreed with his assessment: “That ain’t right.”). His report apparently didn’t connect to the ongoing project and, a few hours later, another damage assessment crew arrived; I had to talk them down from installing an emergency pole.

      After three weeks (admittedly, with early July in the middle), we still await the Dig Safe markout team to spraypaint the underground plumbing & wiring. I know where they’re buried, but my story doesn’t count. For well and good reason, yes, but …

      • #3 by RCPete on 2019-07-21 - 19:26

        I had to get locate service when we did a trench for the new well. Separate people, each contracting out to relevant utility. I think it took a few days, but we were between disasters. The really good news it that it took one phone call.

        • #4 by Ed on 2019-07-22 - 07:10

          The water line guy spraypainted the valve at the end of the driveway and said we shouldn’t expect cable / internet markouts. Makes sense to me: apart from the underground run to the house, their wires drape over the landscape.

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