Dear PoP – What to Do When Wires Down? (Not Necessarily Pepco Wires)

“Dear PoP,

What do you do if you have a downed line on your block? We have a downed line that has been in that state for maybe 3-4 weeks. I’m guessing, based on the appearance of the line, that it is some sort of cable line (verizon, comcast, direct tv, rcn?) and likely from a disconnected service since it clearly hasn’t been reported due to an outage of some sort.

In my experience after the snowpocolypse, the companies wouldn’t come out to check on the lines without confirmation that I was a service user and that the downed lines were in fact for my service. Some of them even tried to charge me for the visit!

So, yeah… what do you do?”

If it is a power line of course call Pepco at 1-877-PEPCO-62 but it sounds like you’re talking about cable. How would you guys advise this reader?

Also on a related note, I just had a big branch come down (call 311 if a tree or big branch came down in last night’s storm) and take out some landline telephone wires. I don’t use a landline – so who should I call to take care of these telephone wires? Verizon?

12 Comment

  • pablo .raw

    I went to my office this morning and there was no power. My co-worker called Pepco and he got a machine message saying that they will take his call in 14 hrs.

  • Great question–we also have a mystery wire that has been down on our block for a couple of weeks–has red caution tape on it but no one seems to want to actually clean it up. I’d love to know who to call!

  • I had a downed line behind my house a year or so ago. I asked a Verizon tech, who had come to my house to work on my DSL, whether it was a phone or power line and he said it was neither and probably a cable line. When I found out it wasn’t a power line I just cut it myself as high up as I could. At some point, the cable company took care of the rest.
    Note that I’m not advising anyone to take matters into their own hands without doing some research.

    • I did the same thing. We had cable or telephone wire infront of the enterance to parking pad. I called Verizon and Comcast a few times to take care of it. They didn’t seem interested so I cut it myself. Problem solved.

  • We had a downed verizon line last winter. We no longer use verizon so we waited until the snow melted to call them. They came within a day or two and reattached it to our house. It was much easier and quicker than I expected.

    I guess the real problem is figuring out who owns the cable.

  • I watched a semi truck drive down 13th early this morning and rip roughly 10-12 low hanging verizon/comcast lines off their poles. One actually caught on the cab of the truck and snapped back like a whip.

    The driver didn’t seem to care that everyone was shouting at him.

    You can see the carnage on 13th from Kennedy down to about Ingraham. As far as the wires are concerned, when the guy came to hook up FIOS at our house I asked him what to do about the 3 or 4 other wires running from the pole and hanging low to other houses. He snipped them at the pole and threw the cable in the trash. It was all old copper.

  • I went through this last night. A tree fell in the alley behind my house and cut the wires to 6 or 7 houses. According to 311, it depends on the neighborhood whether power lines are along streets or alleys. Since I still had power and cable, I presumed those lines were coming from the front of the house. I don’t have a landline, so can only presume that the lines in back were phone lines. 311 stated that most likely those are Verizon, but sometimes Verizon rents out the lines’ capacity to Comcast or RCN. Nevertheless, the owner of the lines should be responsible for cleaning up the mess.

  • Yeah, if it doesn’t disrupt your current service, good luck. I had a downed line for weeks behind my house. It actually draped over my neighbors cars. We couldn’t get anyone to take responsibility for it (pepco, comcast, verizon etc etc)), and the city wasn’t helpful trying to find who owned the lines. Eventually my neighbor just clipped the line himself.

  • I complained to my councilman about some Comcast lines, and he put me in touch with the Office of Cable Television, who got Comcast to clean up a bunch. The biggest mess was Verizon’s, though, and I haven’t figured out yet who to contact about that one.

    CM Graham and OCT were really fast and responsive, though.

  • ah

    Yeah if it’s not power good luck getting anyone out there. I ended up cutting one that was dangling for days. Figured whoever’s it was was going to restrin it anyway once they came out.

  • I think there are live power lines down in Crestwood… Man when you live near the ex mayor, the neighborhood goes to sh– fast.

  • I have the same problem. There’s a bundle of cable or telephone lines laying in my yard and on my neighbor’s car. I don’t believe it’s a power lines because our power wasn’t affected. I’m considering just cutting the wires myself.

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