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Who pays for low-hanging electric lines? You, or your utility company?

Woman unable to get any help for dropping electric line
Posted at 2:26 PM, Apr 18, 2019

Springtime is storm season in much of the country, and if high winds knock a power line down, who is responsible for repairs? 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.

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 she 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.

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

  • Utility companies are responsible for the wire from the street, but only to a certain point.
  • Property owners are responsible for the "mast," the connector on their house (which in Wigham's case appears to be pulling away from the house).
  • Property owners 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).
  • Property owners 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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