My wife and I recently purchased our home on August 26, 2010 and did notice that there was a utility pole (which we do not have any service from) located beside of the driveway. The pole is on the opposite side of the driveway from the property line towards the center of our property/yard. I assumed that the utility company would move the pole if requested to the property line (either side of my 90’ wide lot) and did not realize that it would be a difficult request to have the utility company accommodate.
What I didn’t notice is that there is a guide wire from this pole crossing my driveway and during our remodeling efforts realized that this guide wire impedes our access with taller vehicles. I have a large truck which I have to maneuver by the guide wire when backing into my drive. One of the main purposes of my truck is to tow our travel trailer which we can’t get into our drive due to the clearances of the guide wire. Currently we have our travel trailer located at one of our relatives because we can’t get it into our drive.
I contacted Duke Energy about having the utility pole re-located to one of the property lines and was contacted by one of their engineers: Tim Payne. The engineer came out and looked at the pole/guide wire and gave me numerous reasons/excuses about re-locating the pole and I inquired if there were no regulations for clearances crossing a driveway regardless of utility right of ways? The engineer stated that the pole was very old before noticing a tag on the pole to which he quickly informed me that the utility pole belonged to BellSouth and that is who I would need to contact for any resolution.
I began trying to contact AT&T (BellSouth) to request that the pole be re-located and was never able to get any help from any representative by phone. On three different occasions I spent an hour or more on the phone getting transferred back to a phone tree. On one of the occasions I was transferred to the same representative 3 different times and then transferred back to the phone tree. I submitted several online repair requests through different departments and was finally contacted by an AT&T outside field technician: Bill who stated that the pole was old and in need of replacing however this would not be his department. He informed me that he was going to transfer the request to another AT&T engineer who should be able to help me with my request. I was then contacted by the engineer on 1/11/2011 who informed me that due to the weather it may be several days before he can get out and look at the situation and he would contact me after he had looked at the utility pole. I asked if there were regulations for height clearances across property/driveways and he stated that he couldn’t say at that time but would know more after he was able to view the utility pole.
I also spoke to a Duke Energy sub-contractor technician/repair man that was in my neighbor hood about the best way to get some real information concerning getting this pole re-located and upon his un-official examination he believed the pole to be deteriorated in the ground which is probably why the guide wire was needed in the first place. While I realize that this was an un-official opinion there have been engineers from two different utility suppliers view this pole already in my effort to get an answer as to what can be done and neither have said anything in regards to the integrity or safety of this pole other than it was old. I certainly hope that it doesn’t take an accident or outage whether with or without personal injury or property damage for someone to take ownership of this pole.
I am very displeased with the lack of communication from both of these utility providers as well as the difficulty that I’ve experienced with just trying to make contact with either of them. Neither have provided any kind of solution or response as to what my options are nor answered my question concerning if there are any height clearance regulations to protect a homeowner. I fully understand the need for utility right of ways and their purpose but do not understand how the utility companies can place poles anywhere they wish without regards to the affects it will have on the property owner. In addition how they can seemingly be satisfied with giving the consumer/citizen the run-around and never give an answer to my question or attempt to address my concerns. I feel that everyone with these two utility companies that I have dealt with is just waiting on me to just give up on getting an answer.