Overhead aerial lines crossing my property

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Lakee911, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I was out at my rental property the other day and I counted 14 overhead wires (cable and telephone) crossing over and through the backyard to feed the two duplexes next door. It's a very unsightly mess.

    Do I have any power to tell the appropriate cable and telephone companies to move them? Do I have the right (even though I wouldn't do this) to just cut them at the edges of my property?

    Would any of this change if it is power lines over my yard to feed a neighbor?

    Thanks,
    Jason
  2. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I would just cut them all. If they are that unsightly, and this is a rental you own, you owe it to your tenants to provide them with the most visually and aesthetically pleasing environment possible.
    :rolleyes:
  3. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Everyone that comes to visit me from England always comments at how messy the overland cables are here.

    BURY THEM! Most countries did that years ago.

    And then we complain when a small wind gust cuts the power.
  4. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    "Overland" cables? :) Ha!

    There are advantages to aerial/overhead/overland cables, but they are very unsightly.

    I'm certainly not going to pay to bury my neighbors wiring though.
  5. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    I HATE overhead crap!!

    Nothing you can do about it though unless you want to foot the bill to bury them.
  6. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    Location:
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    I would gladly pay to see the whole country bury them.

    Where shall I send the check?

    Although I have also been to some countries where they dig up the roads to bury cable TV lines, but the power lines are left overhead because the cable company can gets its act together with the power company.

    I encouarge all Americans to start diggin'. If they won't bury them for us, we'll do it ourselves!

    Just think....no more outages...ever. And no need for home generators.

    Welcome to the 21st century USA!
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  7. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    When the lines were installed the builder or a previous owner gave the power/cable/telco company a right of way across your property. If you look up your deed you should see it in there.

    That is a lot of wires to feed two duplexes though. You might be able to get them to clean it up a bit if you ask nicely:) My personal experience is that the power co employees think they know everything and never make mistakes so best of luck if its power lines. The local telco here used to do pretty clean installs so no real experience with them (they were recently sold and are hopelessly lost at the moment), and the cable co will clean up their wiring if you point out a poor install to them. The cable company has the most to lose from a bad installation do to signal loss hence their interest in fixing it.

    -rick
  8. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

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    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Per link, "Although underground line is often thought of as more reliable than overhead line, the reliability improvement is small, he said. Buried lines have less exposure to the elements, which lowers power interruption frequency (SAIFI: system average interruption frequency index); it takes longer for personnel to locate and repair problems, however, which increases power interruption frequency (CAIDI: customer average interruption duration index)."

    Per link, "Five years of underground and overhead reliability comparisons for North Carolina’s investor-owned electric utilities – Duke Energy, Progress Energy and Dominion – found that the frequency of outages on underground systems was 50% less than for overhead systems, but the average duration of an underground outage was 58% longer. Because those repair times are typically much longer, customers served by underground lines are usually among the last to have power restored. Long term reliability is also an issue. As underground lines get older, they become less reliable. In fact, a Maryland utility found that customers served by 40-year-old overhead lines had better reliability than those served by 20-year-old underground lines."

    Per link, "Although underground lines are protected from damage, they are harder to repair than overhead lines. Faults on the line are more difficult to find, and as a result, it takes longer for the repair to be made. Repairs to underground lines are also more costly and time consuming than those made to overhead lines. However, overhead lines are more likely than underground lines to suffer damage because they are exposed to ice and wind. Even though overhead lines are more susceptible to outages than their underground counterparts, the reliability of overhead distribution lines remains strong."

    Interesting article from 1883 re: aerial lines in NYC.

    But ... anyways, who can help me with my original question?

    I'm beginning to wonder if their mere presence could be adverse possession of a prescriptive easement. That's legal-speak for if its been there for a long time (length varying by jurisdiction) then it can stay. Anyone know?

    Jason
  9. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    Now you can't put a pool there. I would complain to the utility companies. They cannot cross your airspace for the sake of others.
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    5,658
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    On my road, my half/side has visible wires including electric, the other half or other side of the road has none, they are buried.
  11. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I actually wrote the deed for the property so I know it's not there. :) I did search the previous deeds and I searched for any easements online at the recorder's website (looking back through material that pre-dates the building). There is no evidence of an easement grant.

    This is the route that I'll probably go. I'll call them and see if I can find out which wires/services are in use and then proceed from there. This may not happen for a while because my leases aren't up until April and my garage project is taking my time. I will post back with what happens. I'll see if I can snap a pic or two too.

    Thanks,
    Jason
  12. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

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    2,777
    Location:
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    Interesting facts Jason, but I have experienced more power outages living near America's capital in the last four years than I have witnessed living 30 years in England prior to that. Yes, 1980s England had less power cuts than I get here.

    I simply cannot remember the last time we had a power outage in the UK.

    Perhaps it's something in your electricity that makes things so unreliable?

    I'm guessing the reluctance to bury lines here has quite a lot to do with this beauty.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  13. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I am not sure if this reflects at all on the conversation, but, I thought someone might had asked this question of me. When, I lose my power, I look out my door and the people across the road also, lost theirs.
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    My guess is the DC area gets far more lightning strikes and maybe snowstorms than much of GB.

    A direct hit on a pole is much easier to fix than one burried. A hit can be telegraphed a long way underground, too, and is a lot harder to locate and assess the extent.

    From a visual viewpoint, certainly, it's nice to hide them. The cables need to be larger, too, and with the price of copper and even aluminum, that's an issue. Free air allows the wires to dissipate the heat...the confinement when burried prohibits that as it ends up being insulated more.

    Given a choice, though, at least in a residential area, I'd rather not look at overhead wires, but don't expect it to resolve power outage issues.
  15. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Where I live in the US it's always the trees falling on power lines. Either homeowners not maintaining their trees or the town.

    Bury and we'd be done with it.

    But on the heat issue I agree. You like to run 'em hot here on 110 volts. Ouch.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  16. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Actually, it is the power companies that prune the trees from the electric/power lines, at least where I live.
  17. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    They typically can not and will not trim trees on private property. Besides that though, they were too busy taking profits the past few years to spend money to maintain their infrastructure...that is the root of the problem.
  18. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Oh, no they do here Jason. Now, only the branches that overhang, interfere with their power/electric lines though. Here, what they do, is they come a knockin probably every 2 years and they ask if they have your permission to trim, to prune. I walk outside with them and they show me what they want to do. I have no problem with it. I got to admit though, sometimes, after them doing it so many times, it kind of ruins the tree. I have 2 in the front that are ratty looking because of it. But, it is better than having the line coming down due to ice or winds. This one entire side of our road looks this way, then, Jason, if you check out the other side of the road, their trees are nice, lol. What can I say. :) It is the highest wire, with the phone, cable under it, so it does protect those ones, too. I don't know about your state but here they do, it might be worth a phone call to see if they can help you, I would call. The phone company and the cable they don't prune or trim. At least here.
  19. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    They generally have an easement so many feet to either side of the line
    They can cut within that easement anything that endangers the line
    In most cases they ask before going too far
    They hire the cutting out to outside contractors - tree cutters etc
    Up here in one case they did not ask & the contractor cut down everything a wide swath
    Owners were very upset
    But with economy etc I don't doubt everyone is looking to cut costs

    A large Oak died near the wires, they only cut down what was hanging near the wires
    Despite the fact if it comes down it will take the entire line with it
  20. The trees in this area get butchered to death when the contractors come in and trim the trees.
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