Dear PoPville – Who Do I call for Downed Wires?

“Dear PoPville,

In the storm over the weekend wires that run from the alley behind my house to one of our third story windows were knocked down. I’m assuming they were telephone wires because my cable and electric are working just fine. I do not have a home phone. The wires are now sitting on top of my neighbors garage and are not in anyone’s way. Do I need to call someone to alert them of this and who would that be? Or since I don’t have phone service should I just let it alone?”

We spoke about some options after a snow storm but what do you guys think of this specific case?

18 Comment

  • Mayor Carcetti. He’ll have the wires back up in no time.

  • ah

    I’ll go with the same option I did then. You can call 311 or the various phone/cable companies, but they all blew me off.

    I would take some wire snips and cut the wire as far up as you can. When/if you need phone service (or the next person does) Verizon can come restring the lines.

    • I think it might not be a good idea to touch them at all. You never know if there’s any sort of voltage coming through those wires.

      • No line is safe to touch. Ever.

        • ah

          I cut a dangling phone or cable wire and lived to post my recommendation.

          It’s pretty easy to tell if it’s a power line: 1) It will be thick; 2) there will be multiple wires (i.e., not coaxial); 3) Where it once was attached to the house there will be a weatherhead and a thick service cable, along with a meter.

          If it doesn’t meet any of these criteria it is almost certainly not a power cable. If it is a phone or cable cable, then it is low (or no) voltage and poses little risk from cutting.

      • Pepco does not run it’s wires from telephone poles – Unless you live outside of Le’nfant’s original grid.

        JMC – what are you talking about?

  • The same thing happened to us in the ice storm this winter. It was a DirectTV line that no one was using (left over from previous tenants). I cut it with hedge trimmers, which was no problem but resulted in some really anxious looking construction workers watching me hack on dangling wires.

  • Tell your neighbor if he is not aware and let him deal with it.

  • Our verizon cable pulled away from our house during the blizzard 2 years ago. I called them after the snow melted. I figured they would give me grief because we no longer have verizon service but I explained that the cable was laying across the yard of the old ladies next door and they sent someone out the next day.

  • I had a similar problem about a month ago. Emailed my councilmember’s office after getting no where trying Verizon (it was an old phone line, we now use Comcast). The constituent services staff got ahold of Verizon and it was gone in 2 days. I was impressed.

  • fallen “wires”? is your neighbors “garage” properly permitted? sounds suspicious. you should hire a private detective to get to the bottom of this.

  • Call me! I love playing with live wires!

  • Pull it back to the pole, coil the wire 5′ above grade and leave hanging

  • I’m dealing with this now. I have a wire hanging low (nearly on the ground) across my driveway. Pepco said it’s not theirs and told me to call Comcast. Comcast asked if anyone was in danger of tripping over it, to which I said it’s a major lawsuit waiting to happen, to which they said they’d send someone to take care of it that afternoon — and it’s been two days and nada.

  • I had phone wires down, too — tweeted @verizonsupport and they were more or less able to get to me the same day.

  • If there is a pole outside, this is how you can tell who it belongs to:

    The highest set of wires on a pole always belong to the power company. These wires are extremely dangerous and can kill you.

    The bottom set of wires belong to the local phone company. These have a very mild current that isnt lethal, but isnt smart to touch anyway. If there is a downed phone line there could be damage to the power line and if they are touching at all you would get electrocuted.

    The middle set of wires is for 3rd parties which is generally the cable company. These wires have the same danger as the phone lines.

    So, if you trace the wire back to which rung it is on the pole (highest, lowest, middle) you can tell which company you need to call in order to get it fixed.

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