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Thread: Overhead aerial lines crossing my property

  1. #1
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Default Overhead aerial lines crossing my property

    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

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    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.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

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    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    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.

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    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    "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.

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    I HATE overhead crap!!

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

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    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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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 by Ian Gills; 08-18-2009 at 05:28 PM.

  7. #7

    Smile

    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. #8
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gills View Post
    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.
    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. #9

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    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.
    http://www.inspectpa.com/forum/forum.php
    My answers are based mostly on the ICC codes. Advice given is my personal opinion and every person performing work should acquire a permit from his/her jurisdiction and get the work inspected. My opinions are not directions to follow for DIYs or professionals

  10. #10

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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. #11
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drick View Post
    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.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by drick View Post
    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
    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. #12
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    the reliability of overhead distribution lines remains strong.
    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 by Ian Gills; 08-19-2009 at 02:18 PM.

  13. #13

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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. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Gills View Post
    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.
    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.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15
    Senior Robin Hood Guy Ian Gills's Avatar
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    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 by Ian Gills; 08-19-2009 at 05:43 PM.

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