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Wires down in yard: who pays?

Woman unable to get any help for dropping electric line
Posted: 1:46 PM, Apr 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-18 14:51:07-04

Springtime is storm season in much of the country.

And if high winds knock a power line down in your yard, who is responsible for repairs: the utility company or you? One frustrated woman had a hard time getting answers.

Saundra Wigham is worried about wires. Her electric and phone wires hang low like a laundry line.

Every windstorm knocks them a bit lower -- and they appear to be pulling away from her house.

"There is a terrible looking wire that is frayed and looks like a fire hazard," she said, pointing to the electric wire connected to the "mast" near her roofline.

A gutter crew alerted her to the hazard a few weeks ago.

"They could not replace the soffit because of the bad wiring," she said. "They said it is just an accident waiting to happen."

Power company says it is not their problem

Wigham's wires have gotten so low over the years, you can actually reach up and touch them.

But she says when she called her local utility, she was told she'd have to wait because her power still works, and because it may be her responsibility.

So we checked, and discovered she may have to pay for the repairs, unfortunately.

According to the home inspection site GreatInspector.com, and FAQ pages at many public utility websites:

  • Your utility is responsible for the wire from the street, but only to a certain point.
  • You are responsible for the "mast," the connector on your house (which in Wigham's case appears to be pulling away from the house).
  • You are also responsible for the big cable from the mast down the house to the meter (though the meter itself belongs to the power company).
  • You need to pay for any wiring repairs from the meter into the house.

But Wigham says the low hanging wires in her yard should not be for her to fix.

"Everything has to be redone, because it's a safety hazard for me, and my house could catch on fire," she said.

If this ever happens to you, call your local utility, and try to be home when they stop by, so you get answers and you don't waste your money.

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