Ledger Inquirer: Utility poles pose unsightly problem

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 27, 2013 

"Mr. Owen," an Irritated Reader writes.

"Approximately two years (or more) ago a telephone pole two houses down from me broke during a storm. I guess it was the city that came out and replaced the pole, along with the one in my yard. At the time they indicated that they had to leave the original pole up in order to make sure the new one 'settled in' before removing the old pole."

(I'm no utility pole expert, but I'd think two years is enough to "settle in.")

"My neighbor has called the city and was told they can't move the pole until all the lines have been moved off of it. My neighbor then called the phone company, and I called Knology, who both have indicated that their lines have been moved.

"We don't know what else to do. I am a single mother, and my neighbors are retired, and neither of us have the ability to deal with this any further. Can you help?"

I'll certainly try.

The utility pole in question is in Mohina Woods. (Mohina, by the way, is a Creek Indian word meaning "by the college," I'm told.) Anyway, I found the apparently storm-shortened poles around the intersection of Junaluska and East Lindsey.

Each had apparently been damaged and replaced, and most of the utilities have been moved over to the new one. But each of the old ones still had at least one and maybe two utilities still attached.

Unlike other reports of utility pole problems, these don't pose any threat, other than to the aesthetics of the neighborhood. But dangerous or not, it's unsightly enough to have one utility pole in your yard, much less two, with one of them damaged.

Now, the first mistake the neighbors made was to call the city. The city has no jurisdiction over or responsibility for utility poles.

Almost all of them belong to Georgia Power, which leases space on them to other utilities.

I called my Georgia Power friend, Robert Watkins, to see if he knew anything about the situation. He said he'd see that a crew checks it out, determines which utilities are at fault and contacts them about it.

Again.

Again, you ask? Yes. Georgia Power sends out a notice to all its pole tenants whenever a pole is replaced and the tenants are supposed to move their lines ASAP.

But they don't always do that. He said the power company would send another reminder and we'll see what happens. Problem is, Watkins said, Georgia Power can't move another utility's lines, even though they own the pole and lease out the space.

It's tough out there being a landlord.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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